Gunmen storm court house, take government officials hostage in northern Iraq
The gunmen are apparently dressed in Iraqi military uniforms. (AFP/File)
Unidentified gunmen dressed in military garb have broken into the city council and court house complex and taken hostages in Samarra in northern Iraq on Tuesday, police and witnesses said.
At least 16 policemen and eight civilians were wounded in the fray, including the deputy head of the city council, Ammar Ahmed, and a second council member, said Doctor Omar al-Obeidi at the Samarra hospital, Agence France Presse reported.
The fighters in the military uniforms stormed the complex shortly after a suicide bomber blew himself up outside the compound, Police Lieutenant Dhafir Ahmed told AFP.
"The gunmen are in the council building," the police officer said, according to AFP . "Local council employees and court employees are trapped inside."
A UNESCO world heritage site, Samarra is often witness to unrest, and militant groups regularly attack ocal government officials along with government security forces.