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Al Qaeda claims responsibility for Baghdad car bombings that killed 37

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    Feb. 17, 2013 - Iraqis inspect the scene of a car bomb attack in the Ameen neighborhood in eastern Baghdad, Iraq.AP

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    Feb. 17, 2013 - Family members of Hussein Abdullah, 22, killed in a car bomb attack, load his coffin onto a vehicle before transporting the coffin for burial south of Baghdad, Iraq.AP

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    An Iraqi walks past the scene of a car bomb attack in the Ameen neighborhood of eastern Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013. A series of car bombs exploded within minutes of each other as Iraqis were out shopping in and around Baghdad on Sunday, killing and wounding scores of people, police said. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)The Associated Press

Al Qaeda's local franchise in Iraq has claimed responsibility for car bombings that killed at least 37 people in mostly Shiite areas of Baghdad.

The U.S. SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors militant forums, says the Islamic State of Iraq issued a statement on militant websites saying Sunday's attacks came in revenge for alleged criminal acts by the Shiite-led government against Sunnis in the Iraqi capital.

The car bombs that exploded within minutes in outdoor markets also wounded more than 100 people. The attacks came amid rising sectarian discord in the country and appeared aimed at shaking the Iraqis' confidence in the Shiite-led government.

Iraq's al Qaeda branch has staged scores of large-scale attacks against Shiite Muslims, which it considers heretics and accuses of being too closely aligned with neighboring Shiite powerhouse Iran.