Iraqi security forces
Iraqi security forces search vehicles at a checkpoint as cars cross in Baghdad (File pic) Reuters

Iraqi officials have said that at least ten people are dead after armed men stormed a mall in a Shia area of Baghdad and took dozens of people hostage.

The militants detonated a car bomb at the entrance to the Zahrat Baghdad Mall before entering the building and spraying gunfire into the crowd. Early reports suggested that as many as 75 people had been taken hostage, but Iraqi officials later said that the siege was over.

Officials said that some of the men may have been wearing suicide vests and later graphic images that were claimed to be the militants appeared on Twitter.

It is believed that 25 people were injured in the attack, with at least three police officers killed.

"They are inside the Zahrat Baghdad mall. When the security forces got too close, they killed three hostages," a police official told AFP.

No group has taken responsibility for the attack as yet, but the shopping centre is believed to be in Baghdad's al-Jadida district, also known as New Baghdad, a Shia area that has been the target of sectarian violence in the past. Islamic State (IS) has often targeted Shia Muslim areas of Iraq.