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Qaeda front claims massive suicide blasts in Iraq


An Al-Qaeda front group in Iraq has claimed responsibility for a series of suicide bombings north of Baghdad last week that cost more than 60 lives, SITE monitoring group reported on Sunday.

The Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), according to the US group which monitors Islamist websites, said its suicide bombers carried out the attacks in Baquba and Tikrit.

The attacks had targeted Iraqi security forces and the provincial council of Diyala, of which Baquba is the capital, that it said was attempting "to spread the Shiite doctrine" in the central Iraqi province.

A suicide bomber last Wednesday rammed an ambulance packed with explosives into a security headquarters, killing 14 people, Iraqi security and medical officials said.

Another suicide attack in a nearby town the same day killed two others and wounded a top provincial official.

Last Tuesday, a suicide bomber killed 50 people when he detonated an explosives-packed vest in the midst of a crowd of police recruits in Tikrit, former dictator Saddam Hussein's hometown.

Diyala itself was an Al-Qaeda stronghold as recently as 2008. While violence has since eased dramatically both in the province and nationwide, insecurity remains rife in Diyala.