BAGHDAD, April 20 (UPI) -- The Iraqi branch of al-Qaida said it was responsible for a spate of attacks across the country, citing aggression targeting the Sunni population.
The Islamic State of Iraq said a series of attacks Thursday that killed 38 people was in "response to the campaign of detaining, torture, embargo and confiscation of lands of Sunni people, especially in Baghdad and its outskirts," reports al-Arabiya, citing an ISI statement.
The attack was the bloodiest since March 20 bombings left 50 people dead and more than 255 injured. The resurgent violence comes amid heightened political skirmishes between rival lawmakers in Baghdad.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, issued an arrest warrant for his Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi shortly after the last of the U.S. forces left the country in December. Kurdish leaders from the semiautonomous northern provinces are meeting with the fugitive vice president in Turkey this week.
"We assure you that this invasion is the beginning of what is waiting for you in the next days, and one phase in a blessed series that has been launched, and will not stop until God judges between us (and the Shiites)," the statement said.