Gunmen open fire and enter Erbil governorate building in Iraq's Kurdish region
ERBIL - Reuters
Kurdish security forces killed gunmen who had stormed a government building in the Kurdish city of Erbil on Monday and took hostages in an attack suspected of being carried out by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), security officials said.
Armed with pistols, AK-47 rifles and hand grenades, the assailants shot their way into the building housing the governorate from the main gate and a side entrance.
According to preliminary investigations, one government employee was killed in four hours of clashes. Two policemen were wounded.
The gunmen approached the building shortly before 8 a.m. and opened fire, Erbil deputy governor Tahir Abdullah told Reuters.
Seizing the third floor and taking an unspecified number of hostages, the men screamed "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greatest).
There were conflicting accounts on the details of the attack. Security officials said two of the men carried out suicide bombings.
But Erbil Governor Nawzad Hadi said none of the men blew themselves up. There were three assailants, he added.
Snipers took up positions on a nearby building in Erbil's busy commercial district and opened fire at the militants. Hand grenades were hurled at security forces.