Terrorist groups launched a wave of attacks across Iraq, killing hundreds in what many believe was the bloodiest day in two years.
Car bombings and shooting attacks struck in 15 cities across the country Monday, and although no group has so far claimed responsibility for the violence, al-Qaeda has been strongly implicated.
The attacks follow a statement by the group last week that they would start a new offensive across the country.
“Al-Qaeda is trying to send a message that it is still strong and can choose the time and places to attack,” said Shi’ite lawmaker Hakim al-Zamili, in comments to AP.
The newswire put the death toll at 106, with over 200 people wounded.
The worst violence was seen in the town of Taji, just about 12.4 miles (20km) north of the capital, where a series of blasts killed 41 people.
Elsewhere the violence was directed at Shi’ite areas. A car bomb in Sadr City left 16 dead.
In a statement on militant websites over the weekend, the leader of the Iraq wing of al-Qaeda, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, implied that the violence would be directed mostly along sectarian lines.
“The majority of the Sunnis in Iraq support al-Qaeda and are waiting for its return,” he said in an audio message, AP reported.