Gunmen storm city council in Iraq

Baghdad, Dec 16: Gunmen Monday broke into the city council of Tikrit, the capital of Iraq’s northern province of Salahudin, seizing an unknown number of employees, a provincial police source said.

The attack occurred before noon when the first group of gunmen blew up a car bomb at the entrance of the city council to pave the way for their back-up to break into the building, the source told Xinhua.

The attackers held an unknown number of employees hostage, while security forces and reinforcement troops besieged the building and clashed with the gunmen, the source added.

“There is no immediate report about casualties as the battle is still under way,” he said.

Earlier in the day, gunmen stormed the police headquarters in the city of Baiji, some 30 km north of Tikrit, after they set off a car bomb at its entrance, the source said.

Six of the gunmen and three policemen were killed and five policemen wounded, the source said.

Salahudin province is a Sunni-dominated province and Tikrit, some 170 km north of Baghdad, and was the hometown of former president Saddam Hussein.