The al-Qaeda group led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has warned Sunni Arabs not to be fooled by the apparent success of Iraq's landmark parliament elections.

In a statement on a frequently used Islamist website, the group threatened to continue its attacks in Iraq.

On the eve of the election, during which the Sunnis flocked to the polls, al-Zarqawi's group declared it was launching a large-scale offensive against 'the apostate's bastions' in order to disrupt the polls.

However this offensive did not materialise and the rare outbreaks of violence on polling day left four people dead.

Official results in the election for the first full-term parliament since the US-led invasion in 2003 are not expected for at least 10 days.

The new 275-member parliament is due to appoint a president and two vice-presidents. The presidential council will then have 15 days to name a prime minister, who has 30 days to form a cabinet with parliamentary approval.