At Least 20 Killed In Baghdad Attacks

At least 20 people have been killed and dozens of others injured in a wave of bomb and gun attacks, targeting government buildings in the Iraqi capital city of Baghdad, media reports citing local off8icials said Thursday.

Officials said the coordinated attacks took place in and around Baghdad's Allawi neighborhood, located near the heavily fortified Green Zone that houses several foreign embassies as well as Iraqi government offices.

Reports said a group of militants wearing police uniforms attempted to storm the Justice ministry building after a series of explosions, including at least two car bombs and a suicide bombing, rocked the area surrounding the ministry.

One of the attackers, a suicide bomber, reportedly blew himself up inside the justice ministry compound. Local media reports indicated that security forces have since brought the situation under control after killing the remaining attackers.

Although no group has claimed responsibility for Thursday's attacks in Baghdad, local authorities blame the al-Qaeda-linked Sunni Islamist insurgents who are still active in the war-torn country despite ongoing efforts to improve security.

When compared to the deadly sectarian violence witnessed in 2006 and 2007, violence has dropped across Iraq in recent years. Nevertheless, the war-torn country still witnesses frequent militant attacks, mostly sectarian in nature, on a regular basis. Such incidents have gone up drastically after US combat forces left the country late 2011.

The last of US combat troops left Iraq by the end of December 2011, ending a near decade-long American military presence since the 2003 invasion of the Middle East nation. The US troop pullout was in line with a bilateral security agreement that required the withdrawal of all American troops from the country by the end of 2011.

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