News Column

Baghdad Attack Kills at Least 23

March 14, 2013

At least 23 people were killed and dozens injured on Thursday when gunmen attacked the Iraqi Justice Ministry in the centre of the capital Baghdad, local media reports said.

The dead included three of the attackers, who wore explosive belts as they stormed the building in the vicinity of the heavily fortified Green Zone, security officials were quoted as saying

The attack followed four apparently synchronized explosions in the nearby area of Allawi, which houses key government offices, including the Foreign Ministry.

A member of parliament's security committee told the independent Alsumaria News website that the gunmen who attacked the Justice Ministry wore the uniforms of government security personnel.

The army regained control of the building after killing the attackers, the news site added.

Iraq has witnessed near-daily attacks since US troops withdrew in December 2011, raising fears of a return to the sectarian tensions that drove the country to the brink of civil war in 2006 and 2007.

The violence comes amidst deepening divisions between the Shiite-led government and the country's Sunni minority.

Thousands of Sunni protesters have been holding weekly protests for the past three months to demand that Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki repeal laws they claim target Sunnis.

Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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