The governor of Erbil, the capital of the Iraqi Kurdistan region, has suggested that the Islamic State [IS] are responsible for the deadly car bomb attack outside the governorate building in the city which killed at least five people.
"An unfortunate event has unfolded today," Nawzad Hadi told Kurdish outlet Rudaw, blaming the Islamic State for the attack. "Kurdistan is facing a great threat regionally from Isis," he said.
"Terrorist acts happen all over the world, and we will strive to protect the Kurdistan region," he added.
According to witnesses, the suicide bomber drove an explosive-laden vehicle towards the building before security guards stopped it with gunfire before it reached the compound.
The attack wounded at least 22 people, according to the Iraqi Kurdish health ministry, and is the biggest attack in the Kurdish capital for more than a year when militants conducted a car bomb attack on the HQ of the Kurdish security services.
Footage from the scene showed several charred vehicles and what appeared to be a bloodstain on the pavement outside the building, Reuters reported.
Islamic State militants have repeatedly threatened attacks against Kurdistan, and have been battling Kurdish Peshmerga forces since June, when they launched a lightning offensive across northern Iraq, capturing swathes of territory.
The terror group have yet to officially claim responsibility for the attack but their militants have edged closer to the Kurdish region as they gained more territory in northern Iraq, forcing the United States to form a coalition and push back the group through a coordinated airstrike campaign.
Western nations, such as the United States and Britain, have also armed the Kurdish Peshmerga fighters with weapons to aid the fight against the group.