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At least 34 dead in Baghdad suicide blast

Bomber detonates inside restaurant

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A boy wounded Thursday in a suicide bombing in Baghdad cries as he arrives at a hospital.

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A series of attacks in the Iraqi capital Thursday targeted police and civilians, including a suicide bombing at a restaurant that killed at least 34 people, Iraqi police said.

Another 25 were wounded when the bomber, strapped with explosives, detonated inside Qadduri restaurant in central Baghdad at about 9:40 a.m. (0640 GMT.)

Al Qaeda in Iraq claimed responsibility for the attack in a Web site posting, saying it had been monitoring the restaurant and concluded that only "infidels" frequented the establishment. (Watch efforts to save victims -- 1:48)

The statement, signed by Abu Maysara al-Iraqi, said a suicide bomber "managed to embed himself" in a crowd of police and security forces, and carried out the attack "as a part of our revenge operation for the Sunnis in Qaim."

Qaim is a region near the Syrian border where U.S. and Iraqi forces have been battling insurgents.

The statement's authenticity could not be verified by CNN, but Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, spokesman for the Multinational Force Iraq, blamed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian-born leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, for the attack on "a known restaurant for Iraqi police as they change shifts."

Lynch said al-Zarqawi was getting orders from Osama bin Laden's top lieutenant, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

"Zarqawi's got a mission, he's been told by Zawahiri to create an Islamic caliphate in Iraq from which they can spread their evil across the region," Lynch said.

"(Al-Zarqawi) still has the capability of recruiting suicide bombers, training those suicide bombers, and giving them the munitions, and that's what happened in Baghdad today and that's what happened in Jordan yesterday and that will continue.

"That's why we will continue operations to deny him that capability."

The United States is offering $25 million for the capture of al-Zarqawi, the same reward being offered for bin Laden.

Lynch said Iraqi police were inside the restaurant, having breakfast, at the time of the attack.

Despite the bombing, Lynch said: "We have indeed seen a reduction of suicide attacks, specifically in Baghdad."

In a separate attack, gunmen opened fire on a husband and wife who worked for the city council in the western Baghdad neighborhood of Ghazaliya, killing both of them, police said. The couple was entering the city council building at 8 a.m. when the attack happened. The gunmen sped away in a vehicle.

A remotely detonated car bomb targeting an Iraqi police patrol in the eastern Baghdad neighborhood of Karrada wounded two policemen and a civilian, police said.

The attack, which happened at 2 p.m., left three cars engulfed in flames, including a police vehicle, police said.

Around the same time, six civilians were wounded in Baghdad when a roadside bomb detonated near a mosque in the eastern neighborhood of al-Jadeeda, according to Iraqi police.

In a deadly attack in Tikrit, police said, a suicide car bomb exploded outside a medical center checking Iraqi army recruits. Four recruits were killed and 13 others wounded.

Iraqi soldiers found 27 bodies blindfolded, their hands tied behind their backs, and shot in the head execution-style in Jassan, east of Baghdad, according to Baghdad emergency police. The bodies had been there for several days.

In the northern city of Mosul, gunmen opened fire on a group of police officers in civilian clothing, killing a policewoman and critically injuring two other police officers, a man and woman, according to Gen. Saeed Ahmed al-Jiboori, director of Mosul police press office.

The attack happened around 2 p.m. at the police station based in al-Jumhoori Hospital in southern Mosul.

CNN Producer Enes Dulami and Senior Arab Affairs contributor Octavia Nasr contributed to this report.

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