Iraqi security officials accused al-Qaeda of carrying out terrorist attacks targeting Baghdad police centres on Wednesday (October 12th), which killed and wounded scores of Iraqis.
The officials also said Iraqi forces foiled a number of attacks and arrested people suspected of planning them.
Col. Hikmat Mahmoud al-Masari, director of media and communications at the Iraqi Ministry of Interior, told mawtani.com that the attacks on police stations "came in response to the remarkable successes recently achieved by Iraqi forces in their war against terror".
He said the first attack occurred when a suicide bomber detonated his car near the Alwiyah police centre in central Baghdad at 9 am. The explosion killed 13 people, including three civilians, and injured 41 others, including 24 civilians.
A few minutes after the first explosion, another attack occurred at the Hurriyah district police centre. A suicide bomber detonated his car near the building guards, killing four policemen and injuring 20 Iraqis, including children.
Minutes later, a car bomb exploded near the police centre in the Illam neighbourhood in west Baghdad. The blast killed three policemen, wounded 15 others, and damaged civilians' cars parked near the centre.
A fourth car bomb blew up near the entrance of the Ministry of Interior in central Baghdad, killing four security personnel and injuring eight others.
Also, an improvised explosive charge went off on the road leading to the Liqaa Square in west Baghdad, killing two civilians and wounding six others.
"Iraqi forces were placed in a state of high alert following the terrorist strikes, and 40,000 security men from the army and police were deployed throughout the capital in anticipation of other attacks," al-Masari said.
Maj. Gen. Adel Dahham, spokesperson for the Interior Ministry, accused al-Qaeda of carrying out the attacks.
"Al-Qaeda was planning to launch a bigger, more comprehensive attack, but security forces succeeded in killing two of the suicide bombers in Shula and Dora before they could deliver their cars to their objectives -- the police centres," he said
Dahham said Iraqi forces were able to dismantle three car bombs parked near police centres in the neighbourhoods of Jihad, Adel and Hurriyah al-Thaniyah. They also arrested five people suspected of involvement in parking the cars.
"The terrorists are trying to avenge the killing of their leaders," Col. Amjad Nassr Abbas of the Baghdad Operations Command said.
He said security forces have started an investigation into the terrorist attacks. "Security officers whose areas of responsibility witnessed terrorist attacks will be held accountable if dereliction [in their duties] is proven," he said.
Acting Minister of Defence Sadoun al-Dulaimi pledged a quick response to the attacks.
"The attacks will be turned around against the perpetrators, and we are preparing for a painful retaliation against the terrorists," he told Mawtani.
Speaker of the Iraqi parliament Osama al-Nujaifi called on Iraqi forces to shoulder their responsibility and overcome weaknesses to prevent a future attacks.
He said, "These attacks will not affect the overall all state of security in the country, which confirms the drop of violence in favour of peace and stability."