BAGHDAD - The Associated Press
Al-Qaida's affiliate in Iraq has claimed responsibility for a wave of car bombs that targeted Shiite pilgrims this week, killing 72 people in what was one of the deadliest days in the country since American troops withdrew six months ago.
The Islamic State of Iraq posted messages on militant websites saying it was behind the bombings of the annual pilgrimage marking the eighth-century death of Shiite Imam Moussa al-Kadhim. The commemorations culminate on Saturday with hundreds of thousands converging on the Baghdad shrine where al-Kadhim is buried.
Al-Qaida describes the attacks as a "blessed Wednesday invasion" and says they were a blow to the Iraqi government led by a Shiite prime minister in coalition with Sunnis and Kurdish parties. Wednesday's bombs also hit Kurdish political offices and army patrols.