January death toll in Iraq now close to 1,000

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At least 19 people were killed in bomb attacks and a shooting in Baghdad on Wednesday.

Two car bombs went off at the same time in the southern Shula residential area killing at least nine people and wounding another 19.

A car bomb near a small restaurant in a Shiite neighbourhood in eastern Baghdad killed four, and in a mainly Christian neighbourhood, gunmen shot three more dead.

It brings the death toll so far this month to nearly 1,000.

On Thursday morning there were reports that gunmen had attacked the Iraqi Ministry of Human Rights in Baghdad, taking several officials hostage.

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