Dubai: Al Qaeda’s offshoot in Iraq has claimed a suicide car bombing that killed 24 policemen and wounded 72 others last week in Hilla, south of Baghdad, US monitoring group SITE Intelligence reported Tuesday.
“The Al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq claimed responsibility for the May 5th suicide bombing in the city of Hilla in Babil province of Iraq in a communique issued on jihadist forums ” today, SITE said in a statement.
The Hilla attack came just three days after Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden was killed in a covert US commando raid in Pakistan.
In its statement, Al-Qaeda’s Iraqi branch indicated that the Hilla bomb attack was carried out in revenge for bin Laden’s death.
“So sleep soundly O Lion of Islam and Sheikh of the Mujahideen (holy warrior), for we are not of those who shed tears and sit idly by crying like women — this was not and will not be our way,” said the statement, according to an English-language translation by SITE.
On Saturday, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari had said that Al-Qaeda was “likely” to seek revenge for the killing of bin Laden by striking in Iraq.
“Al-Qaeda is still present in Iraq and pursues its operations in the country, so its revenge after the assassination of bin Laden is likely,” Zebari said during a visit to Tunisia.
In its statement posted online, the Iraqi Qaeda group described the May 5 attack on the Hilla police station, saying it was carried out during peak hours.
“After surveillance of the headquarters… our hero raided the fortified building with his explosives-laden vehicle in the peak hour of its activity, where more than 200 elements amongst criminal officers and filthy members had gathered,” SITE quoted it as saying.
“The power of the explosion led to the destruction of a big portion of the headquarters and tens of military vehicles, and the death of dozens and the injury of those who remained alive with severed limbs and grave wounds.”
“So praise be to Allah, no apostate among them came out safe in body or mind,” it added.
The Islamic State of Iraq also claimed responsibility for another car bomb explosion that took place the day after the Hilla attack and in the same area.
“It was detonated on the next day on the forces charged with surrounding the headquarters and removing the bodies of the dead” from the earlier bombing, said the statement. Agencies