(BAGHDAD) -- At least 19 people were killed in Iraq Thursday by bombings and gunfire as militants continue to test the resolve of national security forces. The deadliest assault occurred near the western city of Ramadi, when a military headquarters was rammed by an explosives-laden truck driven by a suicide bomber.
Local authorities reported 14 people were killed -- mostly soldiers and police officers -- while another six were wounded.
Two soldiers were also among the four fatalities in the northern province of Nineveh after militants opened fire on two locations, including a military checkpoint.
Meanwhile, a lawyer from Kirkuk, a city in Iraq's northern semi-autonomous Kurdish region, was kidnapped and murdered by unknown assailants.
Violence in Iraq has stepped up considerably since the provincial elections last April, with al Qaeda's main group and their allies attempting to destabilize Iraq's democratic government through sectarian-style attacks.
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