Attackers who killed at least 61 people in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad on Saturday were condemned as “enemies of Islam” by the United States, in an unusually detailed statement on the latest violence.
The State Department described the attacks as “cowardly” as they were “aimed at families celebrating the Eid al-Fitr” holiday that marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan.
Car bombs had torn through Baghdad cafes and markets, as well as other blasts and shootings elsewhere, according to the U.S. statement.
“The terrorists who committed these acts are enemies of Islam and a shared enemy of the United States, Iraq, and the international community,” Psaki said, according to the statement carried by AFP news agency.
“The attacks today bear the hallmarks of similar suicide and vehicle bomb attacks in Iraq over the past 90 days. Most of these attacks have been perpetrated by al-Qaeda in Iraq,” she added, expressing condolences to the families of the victims of Saturday’s killings.
The latest violence to hit the war-ravaged country came weeks after assaults, claimed by an al-Qaeda front group, on prisons near Baghdad that freed hundreds of militants.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, however, went further, reiterating the $10 million award offered for al-Qaeda in Iraq’s purported leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who is believed to be sheltering in Syria.
“He has taken personal credit for a series of terrorist attacks in Iraq since 2011, and most recently claimed credit for the operations against the Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad, the suicide bombing assault on the Ministry of Justice, among other attacks against Iraqi security forces and Iraqi citizens,” Psaki said.
“The United States has offered a $10 million reward for information that helps authorities kill or capture Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. This reward is second only to information leading to Ayman al-Zawahiri, the chief of al-Qaeda’s network,” she added.
- Officials: car bombs kill 31 people in Iraq
- Iraq oil exports hit 16-month low despite higher production
- Pentagon proposes $2.7 billion in Iraq arms sales
- Iraq seeks foreign firms to build oil pipeline to Turkey
- Soldiers, judge among six killed in Iraq
- At least eight killed in Iraq violence, officials say