Iraqi forces free hostages in city council

Baghdad, Dec 16: Iraqi security forces Monday freed the hostages held by gunmen who stormed the city council of Tikrit in the north. Six people were killed, including three suicide bombers, a spokesman said.

“A special force stormed the building of the Tikrit city council and freed all the hostages,” Xinhua quoted a counter-terrorism unit spokesman as saying.

The troops killed one suicide bomber, while two other bombers blew themselves up inside the city council of Tikrit, the capital of Salahudin province, he added.

A provincial police source told Xinhua that Hameed al-Ajili, a council member, and two policemen were killed and five of the council’s employees were wounded.

The attack occurred before noon when gunmen blew up a car bomb at the entrance of the city council to pave the way for three suicide bombers to break into the building, the source told Xinhua.

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 the entrance of the building, the source said.

The attackers failed to take control of the building and the ensuing battle resulted in the killing of six gunmen and three policemen, and the wounding of five policemen, the source said.

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