News / Middle East

Suicide Bombers Assault Iraq Ministry Compound

VOA News
Iraqi officials say at least six suicide bombers stormed a government ministry building in Baghdad Thursday, taking hostages and killing a number of people before security forces gained control.

Western news reports quote security officials as saying at least 20 people were killed in the attack on the Ministry of Transportation building.  The Interior Ministry placed the death toll at eight - including the six bombers.  The discrepancy had not been resolved by early Friday.

Reuters news agency quotes a senior security source as saying most of the hostages seized in the attack belonged to a security service protecting the ministry and nearby human rights offices.  The report said at least nine security personnel were killed, and 50 others were wounded.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.  But insurgents tied to the al-Qaida-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, known as ISIL, have targeted Iraqi government buildings in the past.

ISIL militants also for weeks have been battling government forces west of Baghdad in al-Anbar province for control of the city of Fallujah.

Elsewhere in the capital Thursday, a car bomb ripped through a market in Baghdad's Shi'ite-majority Kasra neighborhood, killing at least four people. Another car bomb exploded at a Baghdad bus station, killing five people.

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