Armed men stormed the provincial council today in the eastern Diyala province’s capital of Baquba, killing at least eight people in the latest assault on government buildings in Sunni parts of Iraq, police said.
The Tuesday morning attack lasted nearly two hours before army and police personnel seized back control of the council building, according to reports from state television.
Around 9 a.m., a suicide bomber blew himself up by the heavily guarded entrance of the provincial council, which is surrounded by giant cement blast walls. Within minutes, a car bomb exploded and armed gunmen charged into the building, police said.
Gunfire could be heard from the building, which was quickly surrounded by Iraqi security forces.
At least 27 people were wounded, police said.
The details of the attack, which are still emerging, followed a similar pattern as the assault in March on the provincial council building in neighboring Salahuddin province that killed more than 50 people. Such attacks have also been common in western Anbar province as armed groups seek to exert their influence once more in Sunni regions that have grown more stable after 2007, when U.S. forces increased their troop numbers as part of their surge campaign.
The attack today is the gravest sign yet of how security is deteriorating around central Iraq in the countdown to the withdrawal of U.S. forces later in the year.