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Baghdad bombings, ministry assault kill at least 18

At least 3 explosions and an attack on a ministry in the Iraqi capital have contributed to concerns about the precarious security situation in Iraq.

Baghdad attacks Enlarge
Smoke billows from the scene of a car bomb attack in Baghdad, on March 14, 2013. A coordinated string of bombings and brazen assault on a ministry near Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone killed 18 people, in the Iraqi capital's deadliest violence this month. (Ahmad Al-Rubaye /AFP/Getty Images)

A series of bombings and an attack on a government ministry in Baghdad have left at least 18 people dead, according to reports, with several sources citing the death toll even higher.

Agence France-Presse has reported 18 dead and 30 more wounded, while Reuters placed the death toll at 25. The Associated Press reported that 24 people have died in the string of explosions.

The coordinated blasts occurred early Thursday in the city's heavily guarded Green Zone, the home to several Western embassies. 

One of the car bombs was detonated close to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; another exploded near the Ministry of Justice in the nearby a-Salhiyah area, Xinhua reported

Following the blast, a group of gunmen tried to storm the Justice Ministry, where they battled with security forces, Radio Free Europe reported. The building has since been evacuated. 

The attacks come just days before the 10th anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq. No group has claimed responsibility for the latest violence, which has contributed to concerns about the precarious security situation in Iraq.

The attacks bear similarities to past violence by Iraq's Al Qaeda branch, and would be in line with the recent push by Sunni insurgents to undermine Iraq's Shia government, according to the AP

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/iraq/130314/baghdad-bombings-ministry-assault-leave-at-least-15-de