Security forces foiled suicide bombers'bid to storm the Transport Ministry and killed six assailants. Two security guards were also killed.

Six would—be suicide bombers and two security personnel were killed on Thursday following an attempt by unidentified gunmen to storm an Iraqi Ministry building in Baghdad, police said.

The assailants, who were wearing explosive belts, tried to storm a large garage belonging to the Ministry of Transport, in eastern Baghdad, in an apparent hostage-taking operation.

“Security forces today foiled a cowardly attempt by terrorist elements to storm the fuel building, and killed six assailants,” said Baghdad Security Operations Agency spokesman Brigadier Saad Maan.

Two security guards were killed and eight wounded in the attack.

All of the employees in the ministry, which manages convoys, were safely evacuated.

“The situation is now back to normal,” Maan said.

Such attacks, most of which are blamed on Sunni militants, are an almost daily occurrence in Iraq.

Last month, sectarian tensions erupted in the western province of Anbar after troops loyal to the Shiite—led government had cleared out a Sunni protest camp in Ramadi, the capital city of the Sunni—dominated province.

Militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) took advantage of the tensions and seized the western city of Fallujah, as well as vast areas in Ramadi.

At least 46,000 families have been forced to flee Anbar since late December due to fighting between government troops and ISIL militants, the Iraqi Red Crescent said.

Also on Thursday, government troops killed at least 24 ISIL insurgents, al—Iraqi TV reported. The broadcaster did not report about potential casualties among security forces.

The violence in Anbar has raised the prospect of a return to the sectarian bloodshed that pushed Iraq to the brink of civil war in 2006 and 2007.

According to UN estimates, 8,868 people were killed in 2013, Iraq’s highest annual death toll in five years.

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