An Iraqi official says dozens of militants have overrun the provincial government headquarters in the northern city of Mosul, AP reported.
Ali Mahmoud, the media official for Ninevah province, says insurgents armed with machineguns and rocket-propelled-grenade launchers stormed the government building in Mosul late on Monday night.
He says they overpowered the building guards after a short firefight.
A former al-Qaida stronghold, Mosul is 360 kilometers (225 miles) northwest of Baghdad and is Iraq's second-largest city.
Mahmoud says the governor, Atheel al-Nujaifi, was in a nearby guest house but managed to escape from the area unharmed.
Earlier, the gunmen torched several of the city's police stations, freeing the detainees there.
The attack on Mosul comes as Iraq grapples with its worst surge in violence since the sectarian bloodletting of 2006 and 2007.