KIRKUK: Iraqi police stormed a mall in a northern city that gunmen used to launch an attack on a nearby police station, killing three militants and ending an hours-long standoff that trapped some storekeepers inside, authorities said Thursday.
Militants held off police from their rooftop position on six-story Jawahir mall in Kirkuk overnight, throwing down grenades and firing on officers and civilians who tried to flee the fighting.
Officers raided the mall Thursday morning before dawn, killing the militants, said Brigadier General Sarhad Qadir, Kirkuk’s police commander. No security forces or civilians were wounded in that fighting, Qadir said, though it left large portions of the mall burned. Eleven storekeepers hid inside the mall during the attack, scared to leave, he said.
The fighting in Kirkuk began Wednesday, when authorities said a car bomb exploded at the gates of the Police Intelligence Department.
A suicide bomber on foot entered the station and detonated his explosives after that, officials said. The gunmen on the mall’s roof then opened fire down on the station, they said. The police station attack killed five officers and two civilians, while wounding some 70 people, Qadir said.
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