Blasts strike near ministries in Baghdad

2013-03-14 20:23

Baghdad - A string of apparently co-ordinated blasts struck near Iraqi government offices close to Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone on Thursday, a security official and witnesses said.

The explosions went off near the foreign ministry, culture ministry and an office of the communications ministry in the Allawi neighbourhood in the centre of the capital at around 13:30.

It was not immediately clear if there were any casualties, and no group claimed responsibility.

Sunni militants including those linked to al-Qaeda often target government officials and offices in a bid to destabilise Iraq.

Also on Thursday, a bombing targeted a candidate in Iraq's upcoming provincial elections, while another was kidnapped along with his father and other relatives north of Baghdad.

A magnetic "sticky bomb" exploded on a car carrying Khaled Hussein al-Daraji, a candidate in Salaheddin province, killing his driver and wounding three nearby workers, though Daraji escaped unharmed.

And a tribal sheikh, Qais Abdul Karim al-Janabi, was kidnapped along with his son, Salaheddin provincial elections candidate Abdul Karim, and five other relatives in Siniyah, north of Baghdad.