BAGHDAD, Dec. 22 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said that Thursday's series of bomb attacks in Baghdad were politically motivated, pledging that the attacks will not pass without punishment.
"The time and place of such crimes underscore the political nature of the goals that they (attackers) want to achieve," Maliki said in a statement issued by his office.
The attacks targeted innocent people in public areas such as schools and marketplaces in an attempt to distort the political scene to reach their goals, Maliki said, without naming the political parties behind the attacks.
Maliki also called on "Iraqi people not to be dragged into reactions that the criminals wanted them to have in order to achieve their malicious goals."
"The criminals and those who stand behind them will not be able to change the course of events and the political process," Maliki said.
He also vowed that the perpetrators of the attacks "will not go unpunished."
Since early in the morning, a spate of car bombs and roadside bombs ripped across Baghdad, killing up to 63 people and wounding some 185 others.
The attacks came amid a political row between Maliki and his political rivals in the Sunni-backed bloc of Iraqia, as Maliki sought to arrest the Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi on terror charges.
In addition, Maliki asked the parliament to sack his Sunni deputy Salih al-Mutlak after the latter dubbed Maliki "a dictator" in an interview with U.S. news channel CNN, and on another occasion he told his own satellite TV channel Babiliyah that " Maliki is worse than Saddam Hussein."
The latest development shows the growing struggle between Prime Minister al-Maliki's leading Shiite bloc and his political rivals, as the U.S. troops concluded their withdrawal plan a few days ago, leaving less than 200 personnel in the country on training mission.
Up to 63 killed in Baghdad's wave of bomb attacks
BAGHDAD, Dec. 22 (Xinhua) -- Up to 63 people were killed and some 185 others wounded in a spate of bomb attacks across the Iraqi capital of Baghdad on Thursday morning, an Interior Ministry source told Xinhua.
"Our latest reports put the toll at 63 killed and 185 wounded by the series of bomb attacks in Baghdad," the source said on condition of anonymity. Full story
Special Report: Situation in Iraq