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Al-Qaida in Iraq claims deadly central bank attack

BAGHDAD (AP) - An al-Qaida in Iraq front group has claimed responsibility for a deadly coordinated attack on the nation's Central Bank last weekend that left more than 20 people dead.

The Islamic State of Iraq says it sent five men armed with weapons and explosive belts to attack Iraq's most important financial institution. The statement was posted Thursday on militant websites, according to the SITE Intelligence Group.

Sunday's assault led to a standoff with Iraqi security forces that lasted more than three hours.

It stoked fears that insurgents are taking advantage of political deadlock following the March 7 elections to try to derail security gains as the U.S. prepares to withdraw its forces by the end of next year.

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