Gunmen storm building in Iraq's Ramadi: police

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 15, 2012 5:38 AM
Gunmen storm building in Iraq's Ramadi: police

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Gunmen wearing explosive belts stormed an anti-terrorism police building in the Iraqi city of Ramadi on Sunday after one suicide bomber blew himself up outside, police officials said.

At least five people were killed and six more wounded in the initial suicide bomb blast. It was not clear how many possible hostages were inside, one police official at the scene said.

Security forces had cordoned off the police building, which also holds several al Qaeda suspects in a jail, officials said.

"Police and army are surrounding the building. There is no exchange of fire, but the security forces are studying storming the building and saving the hostages," the police official said.

Ramadi, capital of the mainly Sunni Muslim Anbar province, witnessed some of the worst violence during the height of the war that followed the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. It was the heart of a Sunni Islamist insurgency tied to al Qaeda.

Violence in Iraq has ebbed since the height of sectarian slaughter in 2006-2007 but Sunni insurgents and rival Shi'ite militias still carry out almost daily attacks. Insurgents often target local government buildings and security forces.

The attack in Ramadi came a day after a suicide bomber killed more than 50 people and wounded more than 100 more in an attack on Shi'ite pilgrims passing through a police checkpoint in the southern city of Basra.

(Reporting by Fadhel al-Badrani; writing by Patrick Markey; Editing by Andrew Roche)