Several people have been killed in western Iraq after gunmen stormed police headquarters and took hostages, officials say.

The attackers set off at least two explosions on Monday before overrunning the building complex in al-Baghdadi which also houses the office of the town's mayor.

Up to 15 people, including officers and civilian officials, were reportedly held hostage.

Iraqi security forces managed to regain control of the complex after a two-hour standoff and found the police chief Lieutenant Colonel Sadiq al-Obeidi dead, the AFP news agency quoted officials as saying.

"We killed the four gunmen," defence ministry spokesman Major General Mohammed al-Askari said. "The police chief and one civilian were killed".

Military and police reinforcements had been dispatched to the town, which is located in Anbar province, 150km northwest of Baghdad.

Brigadier Mohammed al-Fahdawi of the Iraqi Army's 7th Division said three of the hostages died along
with all of the gunmen.

Provincial police sources said the attackers broke into the police station wearing police uniforms to disguise themselves and immediately opened fire upon entering.

Source: Agencies