"--IANS/EFE"
Baghdad, July 20 (IANS/EFE) The jihadi Islamic State militant group has claimed responsibility for the car bomb attacks carried out over the weekend in Shiite-majority neighbourhoods in Baghdad that killed at least 18 people and wounded 60 others.

The group, previously called the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), called Saturday's attacks a blessed battle and the suicide bombers who perpetrated them as the horsemen of Islam and heroes of the caliphate, Efe reported citing a statement released on Islamist online forums Sunday.

The extremists said that the attacks targeted the police, government representatives and the volunteer militia members of Shiite cleric Ali al Sistani.

In its statement, IS said 150 people were killed in the attacks and they were coordinated by jihadis using cell phones in Baghdad and its vicinity.

The attacks took place in the Baghdad neighbourhoods of Abu Deshir, Al Baia, Al Jihad and Al Kazimiyah.

The crisis in Iraq has taken a turn for the worse since June 10, when Sunni jihadi groups took control of Mosul, the second largest city, and then progressed to other areas in the north and centre of the country.

--IANS/EFE

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