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Insurgent Iraqi group claims deadly Ramadi bombings

BAGHDAD — An Iraqi insurgent group claimed responsibility Sunday for a double bombing last week that killed 24 and severely injured a provincial governor.

The Islamic state of Iraq called Wednesday's blasts in Ramadi, about 70 miles west of Baghdad, "a divine blow" against "the criminal security apparatus" in a statement posted on an Islamic Web site. The group purports to speak for a range of insurgent factions linked to al-Qaida in Iraq. It previously claimed responsibility for the Dec. 8 bombings in Baghdad that killed 127 people.

The authenticity of the statements could not be independently verified.

Ramadi is the capital of Anbar, a province that was the heartland of the insurgency before its tribal leaders turned against al-Qaida. Its Sunni militias began fighting alongside the Iraqi government and coalition forces in a program known as "Sons of Iraq" or the "Awakening Councils."

The shift in allegiance was a major cause of the reduction in violence, but the group and many Sunni political figures have been targeted for cooperating with the Shiite-led government. Some Sunni militia leaders are worried that the slow pace at which their fighters are being integrated into Iraq's national security forces shows that the government is not serious about working with them.

Violence in Iraq has eased from the height of sectarian clashes three years ago, though there are still bombings and shootings daily. Analysts have warned of a possible upsurge in attacks ahead of elections scheduled for March.

In a separate incident on Sunday, Iraqi officials said gunmen killed three guards in a drive-by shooting in the northern city of Mosul. Mosul is one of the last insurgent strongholds. The three men killed were protecting a road being paved in western Mosul.

Insurgent Iraqi group claims deadly Ramadi bombings 01/03/10 [Last modified: Sunday, January 3, 2010 10:08pm]
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