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Iraq

Bombs rock Baghdad in simultaneous attacks

Bomb blasts that appear to have been coordinated have killed at least 18 people in Baghdad. An attack was also staged on the Justice Ministry.

Black smoke from a car bomb attack is seen from the the Crossed Words monument in Baghad, Iraq Thursday, March, 14, 2013. A string of explosions tore through central Baghdad within minutes of each other on Thursday, followed by what appeared to be a coordinated assault by gunmen who battled security forces in the Iraqi capital, according to officials. Authorities say several people have been killed. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

Irak Anschlag in Bagdad

The three explosions occurred in the Allawi neighborhood on Thursday and also wounded 30 people. Some sources put the toll higher, saying that as many as 23 people had been killed and 50 wounded in the blasts, which were just minutes apart.

Allawi is located near several government offices, including the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

Armed militants also staged an attack on the nearby Justice Ministry. The militants were dressed as police officers. Security forces were able to retake the building and killed the attackers.

Attacks precede anniversary

The violence comes less than a week before the 10th anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq that led to the downfall of the dictator Saddam Hussein.

While no group has claimed Thursday's attacks, they bore the marks of Sunni militants linked to al Qaeda who have staged attacks in the past.

Iraqis are scheduled to go to polls in provincial elections next month - the first since a parliamentary vote held three years ago.

mz/ipj (Reuters, AP, AFP, dpa)