Al Qaeda in Iraq claims deadly Hilla bombing: Report

Al Qaeda`s offshoot in Iraq has claimed a suicide car bombing that killed 24 policemen and wounded 72 others last week in Hilla.

Last Updated: May 10, 2011, 10:38 AM IST

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.

PTI