BAGHDAD, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- Al-Qaida militant group in Iraq on Monday claimed responsibility for a series of deadly bomb and gunfire attacks across Iraq in the past week that killed and wounded hundreds of Iraqis.
The self-styled Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), al-Qaida front in the country, confirmed in a statement posted on an Islamic website that its fighters "carried out a new blessing wave by striking several redoubts of criminals in different parts of Iraq in a well- coordinated way."
Three days of deadly attacks, including suicide bombings, from 15 to 17 January left over 60 people dead and wounded hundreds others. It said that the attacks were carried out as a revenge for the torture of Sunni Muslim detainees, including female detainees, in the prisons of the "Safavid government," referring to the Iranian dynasty (1499-1736) that established Shiite Islam in Iran as an official state religion and frequently fought the Islamic Sunni world.
The statement also claimed that al-Qaida fighters are responsible the assassination of Eifan al-Issawi, a Sunni Arab lawmaker from the Sunni-backed parliamentary bloc of Iraqia, on January 15.
It said that fighters "cut the head of the dog of the Americans, the tail of the Safavid, the apostate and the criminal Eifan al- Issawi."
"God helped the mujahideen to tear him and his followers apart and send him to join former Sahwa sheiks," the statement added, referring to the anti-Qaida leaders of Awakening Council groups.
The Awakening Council group, also known as Sons of Iraq movement or Sahwa, consists of mostly anti-U.S. Sunni insurgent militant groups, who turned their rifles to fight al-Qaida network after Sahwa's leaders became dismayed by al-Qaida's brutality and religious zealotry in the country.
On January 15, a suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest detonated himself near Issawi in the city of Fallujah, some 50 km west of Baghdad, killing him and three of his bodyguards.
The authenticity of the statement could not be immediately verified.
Such deadly attacks apparently are seen as an attempt by insurgent groups to stir up sectarian strife among Iraqis, raising fears that the country could be brought back to widespread violence, particularly as Iraq is trying to avoid the spillover of violence from the ongoing conflict in the neighboring Syria.