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Six dead as suicide bomber hits Iraq intelligence HQ

A car bomb went off in central Baghdad on Saturday morning killing six people near the interior ministry's intelligence headquarters
Car bombs in Iraq are all too common and regularly result in the deaths of numerous passers by (AFP)

A suicide bomber blew up a vehicle packed with explosives at the interior ministry's intelligence headquarters in central Baghdad on Saturday, killing at least six people, security officials said.

At least 32 people were wounded in the blast, the officials added.

The headquarters is protected by concrete blast walls, but the security forces on guard at its entrance on an often-crowded intersection are easy targets for attack.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, but suicide bombings are said to bear the hallmark of Sunni jihadists, including those loyal to the Islamic State (IS) group.

IS-led militants launched a major offensive across Iraq in June, overrunning large areas of five provinces and sweeping security forces aside.

Kurdish forces backed by US air strikes in the north have begun to regain ground lost during a renewed assault by the militants earlier this month, but Iraqi federal security forces are still struggling to claw back lost territory.

Saudi Arabia to host Arab meeting on Syria, IS crisis 

As violence in the region continues to escalate, Saudi Arabia is to host a meeting of foreign ministers from several Arab states to discuss the Syrian conflict and the rise of Islamic State jihadists, Egypt's foreign ministry announced Saturday.

It said Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia were to take part in Sunday's talks.

The meeting will address "the growing presence in Iraq and Syria of extremists, notably the Islamic State (IS)," the ministry said in a statement.

It added that the rise of IS meant the "search for a political solution to the Syria crisis was needed more than ever".

Since declaring a "caliphate" in June. IS has conducted a lightning offensive, taking control of territory straddling Iraq and Syria.

The jihadists sparked worldwide horror and condemnation this week when they released a video showing the beheading of US journalist James Foley.

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