Suicide bombers storm Iraq ministry building, 24 killed

BAGHDAD Thu Jan 30, 2014 8:06pm EST

1 of 4. Iraqi security forces take part in an intensive security deployment in Ramadi, 100 km (62 miles) west of Baghdad, January 30, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer

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BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Six suicide bombers burst into an Iraqi ministry building, took hostages and killed at least 24 people including themselves on Thursday before security forces regained control, security officials said.

The brazen attack on the building belonging to the Ministry of Transportation in northeast Baghdad coincided with a month-long standoff between the Iraqi army and anti-government fighters in the western province of Anbar.

No group claimed responsibility but suicide bombings in Iraq are the trademark of al-Qaeda linked groups. State buildings are a target for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and its allies that have been regaining momentum in a campaign to destabilize the Shi'ite Muslim-led government.

A senior security source said the six militants took a number of hostages, most of them members of the Facilities Protection Service, and killed nine of them inside the building, which was used to receive visiting delegations.

Four bombers detonated their explosives vests during the assault, a fifth was shot dead by security forces and the last died shortly after being shot, according to security officials.

"The level of security measures in the building was less than normal because it is a service building and not a sensitive site," another senior security official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

A further 50 people were wounded in the attack. An Interior Ministry statement gave out a lower death toll - eight, including the six suicide bombers.

Security officials blamed ISIL for the attack and said they expected more in Baghdad in the coming days to distract the security forces and reduce pressure on their militants in the Anbar cities of Falluja and eastern Ramadi.

The Sunni Muslim ISIL, backed by tribal fighters who resent the government, seized control of the two cities in the Sunni-dominated province of Anbar, bordering Syria, on January 1. Iraqi government forces have since surrounded Falluja.

It is the first time Sunni militants have exercised such open control in Iraqi cities since the height of the insurgency that followed the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that overthrew Dictator Saddam Hussein.

Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has asked for international support and arms to help combat al Qaeda, which has been invigorated by the civil war in neighboring Syria, where it is also active.

The U.N. refugee agency said the standoff in Fallujah has driven more than 140,000 people from their homes, describing it as the largest displacement in Iraq since the sectarian slaughter that climaxed in 2006-07.

(Additional reporting by Kareem Raheem; Writing by Isabel Coles; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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Comments (2)
Y.P. wrote:
How much longer are the Iraqi majority going to put up with this murder and blood shed in the name of political correctness? The Iraqi army needs to go into the anbar province and wipe it off the face of the earth.
I am an Iraqi and I am fed up of the political correctness that we have in Iraq when it comes to dealing with the sunnis. I am fed up of hearing about them being our brothers/fellow countrymen etc., whilst they murder us in the thousands every year. We can’t carry on turning the other cheek. They killed us under Saddam for 30 years in our millions and what did we do when he was overthrown? we forgave them, and allowed them into the political process in the name of brotherhood and political correctness. Name me one country ruled gy sunnis that allows minorities into power? We gave them power and respect they, in return spilled our blood on a daily bases. Suicide bombings, chopping of heads, rape, car bombings, shootings, burning people alive, cutting people up, all filmed by themselves and posted online. We call them brothers whilst they call us infidels and they are like this all over the world with all groups of people no matter where. They are like this in The USA, in Europe, in Asia, in Africa, everywhere and by they I mean the sunni ‘muslims’ and they will never stop murdering and killing until they have power. NEVER. They will never stop until you subjugate to them and hand them rule over the country they live in regardless they want it all and to hell with the ‘infidels’ and everyone according to their ideology is an infidel. Go to any country in the world where they have power and see how they treat minorities. If you say you are a shi’ite in egypt, saudi-arabia, algeria, morocco, pakistan, Chechnya, you risk getting cut up into pieces. The shi’ites in saudi-arabia are oppressed, tortured and killed just for being shi’ite. There’s not one shi’ite in the saudi government. So why should we allow them their rights as a minority in Iraq? In europe they are accepted as asylm seekers. How do they show their gratitude to the europeans? they renounce them as infidels in protests in their own countries, blow up their trains killing innocents chopping off their heads, whilst filming it and posting online to hymns and chanting. Sunnism, A savage ideology of murderers. I hope maliki ignores the british and americans governments and their media who support these barbaric clowns. Just go into anbar and shut them up and stop them from killing people. Enough’s enough.

Jan 31, 2014 1:18pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Y.P. wrote:
How much longer are the Iraqi majority going to put up with this murder and blood shed in the name of political correctness? The Iraqi army needs to go into the anbar province and wipe it off the face of the earth.
I am an Iraqi and I am fed up of the political correctness that we have in Iraq when it comes to dealing with the sunnis. I am fed up of hearing about them being our brothers/fellow countrymen etc., whilst they murder us in the thousands every year. We can’t carry on turning the other cheek. They killed us under Saddam for 30 years in our millions and what did we do when he was overthrown? we forgave them, and allowed them into the political process in the name of brotherhood and political correctness. Name me one country ruled gy sunnis that allows minorities into power? We gave them power and respect they, in return spilled our blood on a daily bases. Suicide bombings, chopping of heads, rape, car bombings, shootings, burning people alive, cutting people up, all filmed by themselves and posted online. We call them brothers whilst they call us infidels and they are like this all over the world with all groups of people no matter where. They are like this in The USA, in Europe, in Asia, in Africa, everywhere and by they I mean the sunni ‘muslims’ and they will never stop murdering and killing until they have power. NEVER. They will never stop until you subjugate to them and hand them rule over the country they live in regardless they want it all and to hell with the ‘infidels’ and everyone according to their ideology is an infidel. Go to any country in the world where they have power and see how they treat minorities. If you say you are a shi’ite in egypt, saudi-arabia, algeria, morocco, pakistan, Chechnya, you risk getting cut up into pieces. The shi’ites in saudi-arabia are oppressed, tortured and killed just for being shi’ite. There’s not one shi’ite in the saudi government. So why should we allow them their rights as a minority in Iraq? In europe they are accepted as asylm seekers. How do they show their gratitude to the europeans? they renounce them as infidels in protests in their own countries, blow up their trains killing innocents chopping off their heads, whilst filming it and posting online to hymns and chanting. Sunnism, A savage ideology of murderers. I hope maliki ignores the british and americans governments and their media who support these barbaric clowns. Just go into anbar and shut them up and stop them from killing people. Enough’s enough.

Jan 31, 2014 1:19pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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