Iraq’s al-Qaeda branch has claimed responsibility for a series of attacks that killed dozens in Baghdad and across the country the day before.

The Islamic State of Iraq says it targeted security forces and government officials in “response to the campaign of detaining, torture, embargo and confiscation of lands of Sunni people, especially in Baghdad and its outskirts.”

The claim was posted on militant websites early on Friday.

Al-Qaeda says the Thursday morning wave of attacks that struck 10 cities across Iraq, killing at least 30 and wounding 117 people, is just the beginning of what will be a prolonged series of attacks.

Al-Qaeda and other Sunni militants have stepped up attacks on Shiites, raising concern of a new surge in sectarian violence.

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