Iraq attacks kill 19 as soldiers ambush militants

BAGHDAD: Attacks in Iraq left 19 people dead Tuesday while security forces said they killed 25 militants near Baghdad amid worries insurgents are encroaching on the capital weeks ahead of elections. The latest violence is part of a protracted surge in nationwide bloodshed that has left more than 2,400 people dead since the start of the year and sparked fears Iraq is slipping back into the all-out sectarian fighting that plagued it in 2006 and 2007. The unrest has been driven principally by anger in the Sunni Arab community over alleged mistreatment at the hands of the Shia-led government and security forces, as well as spillover from the civil war in neighbouring Syria. In Tuesday’s bloodiest incident, soldiers killed 25 militants in an ambush southwest of Baghdad, the capital’s security spokesman Brigadier General Saad Maan said.
Maan said the fighters were part of the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and were planning to attack an army base they had attempted to hit last week. Despite the tactical success, the killings illustrate the growing ambition of ISIL militants seeking to fight their way into Baghdad, with analysts and officials worrying they are seeking to derail the April 30 elections. 

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