Gunmen in Erbil attack believed to be Islamic State - Kurdish officials

ERBIL, Iraq (Reuters) - Gunmen who shot their way into the main regional government building in the Kurdish city of Erbil in northern Iraq are suspected of being members of Islamic State, said Kurdish security officials.

Several hostages remain inside the building where the attackers, as some of their number carried out suicide bombings, seized control of the third floor and then came under sniper fire from Kurdish security forces.

There was no immediate word on casualties.

Such attacks are rare in Erbil, seat of the Kurdistan Regional Government.

This is the most high profile attack in recent years, though Erbil has not been spared Islamic State violence in the past.

“We believe that the attackers are from Islamic State because of the tactics they used in breaking into the building from the main gate. Two gunmen used pistols to shoot at the guards,” said a security official.

“The other two entered from a side entrance which was not guarded. They screamed Allahu Akbar (God is Greatest).”

Editing by Angus MacSwan; and John Stonestreet