At least seven people were killed, and 13 others were injured on Wednesday when a group of suicide bombers and gunmen attacked a local bank branch in southern Afghanistan, Afghan authorities said.

After a loud explosion, four militants wearing explosive vests attacked the New Kabul Bank branch in Helmand's provincial capital, Lashkargah.

One of the attackers detonated his explosives at the bank's main gate to pave the way for rest of the assailants to enter the building, according to local officials

“At least seven people -- five civilians and two Afghan army soldiers -- were killed in the attack, and 13 others, including four security servicemen were injured,” provincial police spokesman Farid Ahmad Obaid told The Anadolu Agency.

The attackers targeted the bank at a time when army officers come in to collect their salaries. They took several civilians hostage, but most were freed by security forces.

Obaid said that three attackers were killed, and the last one, hiding in a room, was still resisting and exchanging fire with Afghan security forces.

The attack on the bank came a day after a group of Taliban gunmen conducted a bloody attack on an army-run school in Pakistan, killing more than 100 people, and injuring scores more.

In Feb. 2011, Taliban suicide bombers and gunmen dressed as border police,  killed at least 40 people, and wounded more than 70 others in an attack on a branch of Kabul Bank in eastern Nangarhar province.

Afghanistan has seen several waves of deadly attacks, both in Kabul and other provinces, since the new elected government took power three months ago.

Anadolu Agency