Deadly suicide attack hits Iraq's Erbil

ERBIL: A suicide attack has left at least five people dead in Erbil, the capital of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region, after the assailant tried to drive his vehicle into the governorate building and was cut short by guards' gunfire.

Wednesday's attack, which was the first to target the city's centre in seven months, also left dozens of people wounded.

The assailant - along with three civilians and two police officers - was killed in the attack. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

"Erbil, in the autonomous Kurdish region, is a very well-secured area, and has succeeded in sparing itself much of the violence and blasts rocking other cities, especially Baghdad," reports from Baghdad said.

"The region has been under recurring threats, however."

Fighters for the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), who overran expanes of northern Iraq this summer, have repeatedly threatened to launch attacks against Kurdistan, but the region has so far largely managed to insulate itself from the violence.

The Iraqi Kurdish Health Ministry reported at least 22 were wounded.

Hamza Hamid, a spokesman for the Erbil governor, said the attack took place "right in front of the main entrance of the building of Erbil governorate", which is near the citadel.

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