Gunmen storm Iraq council building, at least 8 dead

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 14, 2011 6:39 AM
Gunmen storm Iraq council building, at least 8 dead

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Gunmen on Tuesday stormed an Iraqi provincial council building in Baquba city -- northeast of Baghdad -- after two bombs exploded outside, killing at least 8 people and wounding 27 more, police and health officials said.

The attack in Diyala province's capital was the latest on a government building to test Iraqi forces as they prepare for the planned withdrawal of U.S. troops at the year end.

Iraqi forces surrounded the council building where gunmen were still inside with some members of the provincial council, police and local politicians said.

Police said at least eight people were killed in the attack in which a car bomb exploded and a suicide bomber detonated his explosives before gunmen assaulted the building.

A source at Baquba hospital said they had received two bodies, but ambulances could not reach other victims because of the shooting.

Diyala, 65 miles from Baghdad, is a volatile area where al Qaeda affiliates and other militia are still active.

Violence in Iraq has eased since the peak of bloody sectarian fighting in 2006-2007, but Sunni and Shi'ite militias still carry out daily bombings and killings.

Gunmen stormed a provincial council headquarters in Tikrit in March, taking hostages before security forces ended the siege. At least 53 people were killed in the attack.

(Reporting by Suadad al-Salhy and Ahmed Rasheed in Baghdad; Writing by Patrick Markey; Editing by Louise Ireland)