Baghdad Shopping Centre Under Attack


Baghdad Shopping Centre



Gunmen have taken hostages at a shopping centre in the Iraqi capital Baghdad after killing at least nine people, security sources say.

About 20 assailants stormed the al-Jawhara shopping centre in the mainly Shia Muslim district of New Baghdad after a car bomb exploded outside.

One official said there might be as many as 75 people inside the centre.

It is not clear who the gunmen are. Sunni jihadists from Islamic State (IS) often target Shia areas of Baghdad.

Most of the hostages were believed to be women, security sources told the BBC.

Gunmen were on the roof of the shopping centre and some were believed to be wearing explosive vests, they added.

“When the security forces got too close, they killed three hostages,” one police official told the AFP news agency.

“We are taking a cautious approach now. We want this attack to end with the lowest possible number of casualties.”

Elite Counter-Terrorism Service troops are reportedly at the scene, and streets leading to the area have been cordoned off.

-bbc



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