2018-07-23 09:09:00

Gunmen have stormed the governorate building in Erbil, the seat of the Kurdistan Regional Government in northern Iraq, according to a local official.

"At around 7:45am two gunmen approached the entrance of the governorate and opened fire at the guards. They managed to enter and now they are on the third floor," said the deputy governor, Tahir Abdullah, on Monday.

At least two policemen were reported wounded.
Later on Monday, there were reports of two explosions at the building with security sources saying one of the attackers carried out a suicide bombing.

There were also reports suggesting that there were more than two attackers in the building. According to unnamed security officials, snipers killed two gunmen but other assailants were still holding some hostages.

According to the reports, two hostages were rescued. One of them was critically wounded.

Rare violence

These types of attacks are rare in Erbil, one of the most stable cities in Iraq. But ISIL has in the past carried out bombings in the city.

The group has targeted Kurdish forces and civilians in recent years.

Kurdish fighters, along with Iraqi government forces and a US-led coalition, battled against ISIL members, who had occupied a third of the country.

Iraq declared victory over the armed group in December.