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Al Qaeda in Iraq vows 'revenge,' claims responsibility for invasion anniversary attacks

Mohammed Ameen / Reuters

Iraqis examine damage inflicted on their house by a car-bomb attack in the Al-Mashtal district of Baghdad Tuesday. Al Qaeda in Iraq claimed responsibility and warned of more attacks to come.

BAGHDAD - Al Qaeda in Iraq has claimed responsibility for a wave of bombings and suicide attacks on Tuesday that killed around 60 people on the 10th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion.

Islamic State of Iraq, the country's al Qaeda wing, is regaining strength, invigorated by the Sunni Muslim rebellion in next door Syria and has carried out dozens of high-profile attacks since the start of the year.

"What has reached you on Tuesday is just the first drop of rain, and a first phase, for by God's will after this we will have our revenge," the al Qaeda statement posted on a jihadist website said.

Car bombs and suicide blasts hit mainly Shiite districts in Baghdad and other cities on Tuesday.

Suicide attackers have struck nearly two times a week since January, a rate Iraq has not seen for several years.

Sunni Islamists see Iraq's Shiite-led government as oppressors of the country's Sunni minority and target Shiites to try to provoke a sectarian confrontation like the inter-communal slaughter that killed thousands in 2006-7.

A decade after U.S. and Western troops swept into Iraq to oust Saddam Hussein, the oil-producing country still struggles with sectarian tensions and political instability that test the fragile unity among Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish ethnic groups.

Ten years after the US launched a "shock and awe" campaign toppling Saddam Hussein, the cost of the Iraq War is now estimated to be about $2 trillion -- but the region is far from stable. NBC's Richard Engel reports.

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