BAGHDAD, Iraq – The network of terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (search) has claimed responsibility for bloody attacks in Baghdad on Thursday, according to a statement posted on a militant Web site.
The authenticity of the statement could not be verified.
The statement, posted on a Web site known as a clearing house for Islamic militants, said three "heroic operations" were carried out by the armed wing of al-Zarqawi's Tawhid and Jihad (search) group.
Tawhid and Jihad has been at the forefront of the opposition to U.S.-led forces in Iraq and has claimed responsibility for attacks on American troops, Iraqi officials and police, and the kidnapping and beheading of several foreigners.
It said the first strike was against the municipal council of Abu Ghraib (search), during which it said five American soldiers were killed along with a number of police.
Three people were killed and more than 60 wounded when a suicide attacker detonated a vehicle packed with explosives in front of a government complex in the Abu Ghraib area, on the western outskirts of the city, according to Iraqi and U.S. officials. One U.S. soldier was among those killed.
The statement said the group also staged attacks against "a convoy of invading forces," indicating there were two separate operations involved.
It was unclear whether the statement was referring to a string of bombs in Baghdad's western al-Amel neighborhood which killed 35 children and wounded scores of others at a government-sponsored celebration to inaugurate a new sewage plant.
Early reports said a U.S. convoy was passing by the celebration when the attack occurred. The U.S. military said later that American soldiers were taking part in the celebrations but that no convoy was passing through the area.
Al-Zarqawi's group claims to be holding British engineer Kenneth Bigley and has beheaded his two American colleagues, Jack Hensley and Eugene Armstrong.