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Afghan officials: Insurgents storm bank, take hostages in country's south; at least 5 killed

  • Afghanistan's security forces carry a dead army soldier during clashes between Afghanistan's forces and insurgents over a branch of Kabul Bank in Lashkargah, capital of Helmand province, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. Suicide bombers have stormed a bank in southern Afghanistan and taken hostages. Afghan officials say the attackers have been firing on security forces who surrounded the building in the capital of Helmand province. (AP Photo/Abdul Khaliq)

    Afghanistan's security forces carry a dead army soldier during clashes between Afghanistan's forces and insurgents over a branch of Kabul Bank in Lashkargah, capital of Helmand province, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. Suicide bombers have stormed a bank in southern Afghanistan and taken hostages. Afghan officials say the attackers have been firing on security forces who surrounded the building in the capital of Helmand province. (AP Photo/Abdul Khaliq)  (The Associated Press)

  • An Afghan wounded man is helped by security personnel as he survives from clashes between Afghanistan's forces and insurgents over a branch of Kabul Bank in Lashkargah, capital of Helmand province, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. Suicide bombers have stormed a bank in southern Afghanistan and taken hostages. Afghan officials say the attackers have been firing on security forces who surrounded the building in the capital of Helmand province. (AP Photo/Abdul Khaliq)

    An Afghan wounded man is helped by security personnel as he survives from clashes between Afghanistan's forces and insurgents over a branch of Kabul Bank in Lashkargah, capital of Helmand province, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. Suicide bombers have stormed a bank in southern Afghanistan and taken hostages. Afghan officials say the attackers have been firing on security forces who surrounded the building in the capital of Helmand province. (AP Photo/Abdul Khaliq)  (The Associated Press)

Afghan officials say four suicide bombers stormed a bank in southern Helmand province and took hostages.

They say the attackers killed at least five people while firing on security forces who surrounded the building as the gunbattle unfolded Wednesday.

Omer Zawaj, the governor's spokesman, says the attack took place in the provincial capital, Lashkah Gar, where a branch of the New Kabul Bank was attacked.

Zawaj says one bomber detonated his explosives at the door of the bank, making way for the other three insurgents to enter.

Aslan Nawaz, the chief physician at the city's main hospital, says they admitted more than 20 wounded people. He says five bodies were also brought in.

Helmand has long been a hotbed for the insurgency, which has escalated in recent months.