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At least 12 people were killed and 22 wounded after a bomb attack on Iraq's Central Bank and a subsequent gun battle between security forces and gunmen, officials said.

The siege began at around 2:50 pm local time, and a total of eight blasts were heard over the next 40 minutes, with exchanges of fire and a standoff between the attackers and Iraqi security forces continuing.

The attackers ended up on the rooftops of some of the buildings within the Central Bank's compound, a bank spokesman said.

Most of the casualties were bank workers, the defense ministry official said.

Major General Qassim Atta, a spokesman for the security forces in Baghdad, said it was unclear if the gunmen had intended to rob the bank, target its employees, or destroy the building.

compiled from agency reports