The governor of a northern Iraqi province says he has lost contact with three local politicians after gunmen wearing suicide belts and military uniforms stormed their headquarters.

Salahuddin province governor Ahmed Abdullah said the lawmakers were inside the provincial council building in Tikrit when the gunmen overran the building on Tuesday afternoon.

He said the gunmen have taken over the second floor of the headquarters and are shooting at security forces that have surrounded the building.

Tikrit is located 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Baghdad.

Mr. Abdullah said officials have been unable to verify who, if anyone, is being held hostage.

A government spokesman said a number people appeared to have escaped.

Gunmen in bomb belts hold Iraqi lawmakers hostage

According to earlier reports, authorities say gunmen wearing suicide bomb belts are holding local lawmakers and employees hostage in a government headquarters in central Iraq.

A policeman and a senior Iraqi intelligence official say it is not known how many people are being held at the Salahuddin provincial council headquarters in Tikrit.

Police immediately imposed a curfew to prevent all road and pedestrian traffic in Tikrit, located 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Baghdad.

The intelligence official compared Tuesday?s attack to a deadly siege in a church in Baghdad last fall.

Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.

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