Gunmen kill guards at Baghdad stock exchange

Two guards at Baghdad's stock exchange were killed in clashes with gunmen trying to battle their way into the building on Sunday, an Iraqi Interior Ministry official said.

"Four gunmen tried to force their way into the Baghdad stock exchange. Clashes erupted when the guards tried to stop them, and two guards were killed," the official said.

He said the attackers detonated a bomb in a vehicle parked close, wounding four civilians, then fled on foot to the nearby Sayidat al-Nejat church, which was among six targeted by deadly car bombings on August 1, 2004.

Baghdad security spokesperson Major General Qassim Atta said police had surrounded the church, although it was not immediately clear if the gunmen were still inside.

Residents of the Karada district where the drama unfolded said they heard a large explosion and gunfire.

Violence has abated in Iraq since its peak in 2006-2007, but deadly bombings, gunfights and kidnappings are still routine.

-AFP/NOW Lebanon