An umbrella organization comprising extremist militant outfits including Al-Qaeda has claimed the responsibility for the latest series of violence that killed 46 people in eight cities of Iraq.
In a statement posted on its website, the Iraqi insurgent group the Islamic State of Iraq said it wanted to show how weak the government's security arrangements were ahead of next week's Arab League summit in Baghdad, Associated Press reported.
Al-Qaeda said its Sunni lions targeted security plans of the fool government ahead of the summit. The 16 explosions across Iraq had killed 46 people and injured more than 200 in less than six hours.
The Shia-led Iraqi government, however, remains unfazed and has vowed to host the summit, a major step towards restoring normalcy after two years of war.
Bombs struck Shiite pilgrims in the city of Karbala, set cars on fire in Kirkuk and hit the security forces and government officials in Baghdad and surrounding cities.
The government and security officials had issued warning weeks ahead of the summit that al-Qaeda and Sunni supporters would try to deter the summit by igniting fears about national security. Baghdad's plan to hold the summit last year was postponed due to similar fears.
The attacks showed the ease with which the militants bypassed Baghdad's tight security to unleash a coordinated attack within an extremely short span of six hours to kill as many as 46 across eight cities.
Such cowardly acts will not deter the national government and the leadership of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the success of the Arab summit in Baghdad to receive the guests and leaders who are invited, Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari was quoted by the AP. We condemn this terrorist act and those politically frustrated terrorists who did it. An attack outside Zebari's headquarters had killed three passers-by.
There were no reports suggesting postponing the summit as had happened last year. Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby condemned the attacks and urged Iraqi officials to deal with these crimes.
Iraqi intelligence, which is expecting more attacks, said Al-Qaeda has used only 40 percent of the total arsenal it is intending to use to interrupt the summit.