Iraqi forces ended a hostage-taking at a Baghdad government building killing four militants on Thursday, as nationwide violence took January’s death toll past 900 with elections looming.

The brazen assault on a building in the northeast of the capital came as security forces grapple with intensifying violence and an extended standoff with anti-government fighters in the western province of Anbar.

It is likely to raise fresh concerns about the capabilities of Iraq’s security forces amid fears the April 30 general election could be partially delayed, as was the case for provincial elections in April 2013. […]