Al-Qaida claims 40 deadly attacks in Iraq

By the Associated Press | July 9, 2012 | 2:38 PM EDT

BAGHDAD (AP) — Militants linked to al-Qaida have claimed responsibility for 40 deadly attacks in Iraq during the month of June.

In a statement released Monday on a militant website, the Islamic State of Iraq, tied to al-Qaida, said it carried out a constant drumbeat of roadside bombs, car bombings and shootings against Shiite pilgrims and security forces.

At least 234 Iraqis were killed in sectarian attacks that came at least every three days during June, the second-deadliest month since U.S. troops left last December.

Among the attacks the Sunni Muslim terror group said it carried out was a pair of June 16 car bombs that killed 26 Shiite pilgrims in Baghdad.

Iraqi officials say the rise in violence likely marks attempts to exploit political struggles among the country's ethnic and sectarian factions.