Gunmen attacked a military site north of the Iraqi capital on Wednesday, killing 12 soldiers and wounding four, police and a doctor said.
The militants stormed a building at the site in the Al-Adhim area, then bombed it.
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Militants opposed to the Iraqi government frequently target members of the security forces with bombings and shootings.
Violence in Iraq has reached a level not seen since 2008, when the country was just emerging from a brutal period of sectarian killings in which tens of thousands died.
It took just five days for this month's death toll to exceed that for all of January last year, according to AFP figures based on security and medical sources.