Al-Qaida front group says it bombed Baghdad bank

Al-Qaida front group says it bombed Baghdad bank
# 23 June 2010 18:23 (UTC +04:00)
Baku – APA. An al-Qaida front group claimed responsibility Wednesday for bombing a state-run investment bank, gloating over its ease in penetrating security in an attack that killed at least 18 people, APA reports quoting “Associated Press”.
Monday’s attack on the Trade Bank of Iraq was meant to expose the weakness of the country’s stalled government, according to a statement posted on the website of the Islamic State of Iraq. The statement called the bank a "stronghold of evil" because it was established to attract foreign investment.
"The soldiers of the Islamic State, in spite of all protections, managed to penetrate all security barriers and checkpoints and reach the target," the group’s statement said.
The group, which is allied with al-Qaida, taunted the government for its inability to keep the peace.
"The challenge is still open to the dwarves of the Green Zone," the statement said in a stab at Iraqi leaders who live and work behind heavily fortified blast walls in central Baghdad.
The same group claimed responsibility for last week’s strike on the Central Bank of Iraq, the nation’s treasury, in which at least 26 died in a commando-style assault by bombers and shooters.
In Monday’s attack in Baghdad’s central business district, suicide bombers detonated two cars packed with explosives outside the bank. A military spokesman said at least 18 people were killed. Iraqi police and hospital officials put the death toll at 28. As many as 57 were wounded.
Conflicting casualty tolls are common in the chaotic aftermath of bombings in Iraq.
Authorities long have feared that insurgents trying to exploit security gaps, caused in part by Iraq’s still-unsettled government, could push the nation toward the brink of civil war.
Iraqi officials continue to bicker over power-sharing agreements to determine which political faction will control parliament. None of Iraq’s main political groups won a clear majority in the March 7 vote and parliament has met only once since then. Parliament is scheduled to meet next July 14.
In the meantime, Iraqis’ anger with the stalled government has surfaced in other ways.
About 100 people protested electricity shortages Wednesday in Baqouba, the Diyala provincial capital, about 35 miles (60 kilometers) northeast of Baghdad. It was the latest demonstration across Iraq in recent days as citizens wilt under lengthy power and water outages.
A weekend protest in the oil hub city of Basra turned deadly when two demonstrators were killed after security forces opened fire on the rowdy crowd.
A government spokesman said Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has accepted the resignation of his electricity minister as summertime temperatures reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Celsius). Spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said al-Maliki soon would select a replacement to Electricity Minister Karim Waheed, who offered to step down on Monday.
Many Iraqis get fewer than six hours of electricity each day, despite billions of dollars that have been spent trying to fix the nation’s power grid since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. Al-Maliki has urged Iraqis to be patient, saying it will likely take up to two years for the electricity grid to be fixed.