NEW: The $10 million reward has been in place since 2011, U.S. Embassy says
Death toll grows quickly as explosions erupt throughout Iraq
Celebrations marked end of Ramadan
July was deadliest in Iraq since the peak of Sunni-Shiite violence in 2006 and 2007
Dramatic bloodshed Saturday in Iraq left 64 people killed and 190 wounded, two Interior Ministry officials told CNN.
A wave of bombings came amid Eid festivities marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
It followed a July that was the bloodiest in five years, when violence between Sunnis and Shiites – both Muslim sects – spun out of control.
In a press release Saturday, the State Department said the attacks “bear the hallmarks of suicide and vehicle attacks in Iraq over the past ninety days” and said most of those attacks were committed by al Qaeda in Iraq, which is led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
“The United States has offered a $10 million reward for information that helps authorities kill or capture Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,” the State Department said, referring to a reward that the U.S. embassy in Baghdad says has existed since 2011.
“This reward is second only to information leading to Ayman al-Zawahiri, the chief of Al Qaeda’s network, and symbolizes our ongoing commitment to helping our partners in the region eliminate this threat from their territory.”
The Islamic State of Iraq, an umbrella group that includes al Qaeda in Iraq, claimed responsibility for Saturday’s attacks on Sunday. The statement, published on an al Qaeda website, said the attacks were in response to recent security force operations.