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.