A suicide bomber attacked a provincial council building in the city of Baqubah this morning in eastern Iraq.

Almost simultaneously, insurgents detonated a car bomb just a few feet away, at one of the building's security checkpoints. As police responded to the explosions, a group of gunmen stormed and captured the government building, opening fire on civilians and security forces.

According to reports, the militants took hostages and climbed onto the roof of the Diyala provincial council's headquarters, where they shot at the state policemen. The security forces eventually retook the building in the early afternoon.

When the smoke settled, there were 12 fatalities, including four of the insurgents. At least 28 others were wounded.

The attack in Baqubah, which is just 50 kilometers from Baghdad, mimicked a March strike against another provincial council building in Salahuddin. Fifty people were killed in that assault.

Militants are increasingly targeting government and security buildings, hoping to destabilized regions with international presences.

These repeated attacks are showing a continuing decline in the security situation. It should ring the bell, and the government should try to do something but is doing nothing, said parliament member Mahmoud Othman. There is no law and order. This country is in a disaster.

In a separate event Tuesday morning, two US soldiers were killed in Iraq. American authorities have not released the soldiers' names and are not providing further details. This month, eight US servicepersons have been killed in June.