Gunmen attack govt. building in Iraq’s Kurdish region

Security forces gatter near the governorate building

Gunmen entered the governorate building in Erbil, the seat of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq on Monday, and fired from windows at security forces, a deputy governor of the city and Kurdish security officials said. The gunmen were eventually killed, but it was unclear if there were other casualties.

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.

Two policemen were wounded, though security forces have cleared the streets around the building in the commercial sector of Erbil, capital of Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.

It was not immediately clear who the attackers were.

Security forces gather near the governorate building

“At around 7:45 a.m. 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. 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.

“Security forces have surrounded the building and entered the ground floor, preparing to attack the assailants.”

The gunmen seized weapons from the guards.

The men were shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greatest), said a spokesman for the KRG.

These types of attacks are rare in Erbil, one of the most stable cities in Iraq, although Islamic State, which has been largely defeated in Iraq, has carried out bombings in the city in the past. The group has targeted Kurdish forces and civilians in recent years.

Kurdish peshmerga fighters, along with Iraqi government forces and a U.S.-led coalition, waged war against Islamic State militants, who had occupied a third of the country.

The Iraqi government declared victory over IS in December, although the militant group still holds pockets of territory and continues to carry out attacks. Senator Lanre Tejuoso back to All Progressives Congress (APC)Adams Oshiomhole not jittery about R-APC joining PDP

The Iraqi Kurdish forces known as peshmerga were key in the military’s defeat of IS after the group launched an offensive in 2014, seizing nearly a third of the country.

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