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Middle East
Al-Qaeda in Iraq claims bank attack
Web statement says group carried out deadly car bombing of Trade Bank of Iraq.
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2010 17:47 GMT

Al-Qaeda's Iraqi affiliate has claimed responsibility for a second deadly bomb assault on a state-sector bank in a week.

In a statement posted on Islamist websites on Wednesday, the Islamic State of Iraq said it was behind Sunday's twin suicide car-bomb attack on the Trade Bank of Iraq, according to the US monitoring group SITE.

The bombers struck outside the facility in a major thoroughfare in Baghdad's Mansur district, that is a gateway to the fortified Green Zone housing government and embassy buildings.

"Two knights from Baghdad launched a new charge to attack another stronghold of evil in the heart of Baghdad," the Islamic State of Iraq statement said.

The attacks killed 26 people and wounded another 53. Five bank guards were among the victims, according to Hussein al-Uzri, the Trade Bank of Iraq's chairman,

The bank is the conduit for much of the government's foreign-exchange transactions and its dealings with investors.

It is one of the public sector's most active financial institutions and has been working to encourage foreign investment in Iraq.

But the Islamic State of Iraq claimed the Trade Bank of Iraq was involved in "the robbery of the country's oil revenues and overseas funds" that were then transferred "to the pockets of senior government officials" and Shia Muslim parties.

The group had earlier claimed responsibility for a highly co-ordinated assault on Iraq's central bank by armed men and suicide bombers on June 13, the eve of the first session of Iraq's new parliament.

Eighteen people died in that attack.

Banks have become frequent targets for both criminals and fighters in recent months.

Armed men stole $6.5m from a Baghdad bank last summer.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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