Nine people, including three attackers, died when militants stormed the provincial council building in Baqubah, capital of Diyala province, yesterday.
A suicide car bomb blew up at the heavily guarded entrance, allowing gunmen to charge into the building. The attack lasted nearly two hours before the army and police took back control.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the attack bore the hallmarks of al-Qa'ida. The assault raised questions about the preparedness of Iraqi forces, with US troops due to leave by the end of the year.