Heavy clashes broke out Thursday afternoon between gunmen and guards of the Health Ministry building in north Baghdad, security officials said.
State-run Iraqiyah television said the Health Ministry was being attacked with mortars by "terrorists who are intending to control the building."
Iraqi troops were being rushed to the area and all roads leading the ministry in Bab al-Muadham neighborhood were closed, said the security officials on condition of anonymity for not being authorized to speak to the press.
Health Minister Ali al-Shemari is a follower of radical anti-American Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr whose Mahdi Army militia is blamed for the death of many Sunnis.
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