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Gunmen kill three in Baghdad heist

Associated Press / August 6, 2010

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BAGHDAD — Gunmen stormed a Baghdad money exchange and killed three people yesterday, the latest in a spate of brash daylight robberies of banks and financial centers in the Iraqi capital.

Insurgents said to be short on cash to fund their operations have been blamed for many of the heists. An Al Qaeda front group claimed responsibility for June strikes against the Central Bank of Iraq, the nation’s treasury, and the Trade Bank of Iraq, a state-run investment center.

Police said they did not know how much money was stolen in the heist. Fleeing the scene, the gunmen also opened fire on a crowd of people who had rushed to the store in response to the shooting.

Hospital officials confirmed three people were killed, including the owner of the money exchange. Five passers-by were wounded.

Violence across Iraq has decreased over the last couple of years, but daily attacks continue to take place. As violence has dropped, criminal activity has risen.

The Al Qaeda front group Islamic State of Iraq has gloated over its ease in penetrating security to pull off robberies.

Also yesterday, a bomb attached to a Ramadi health department pickup truck exploded, killing the driver and wounding three bystanders, said city police and hospital officials.

Earlier, police officials said three police officers were killed in drive-by shootings late Wednesday in western Baghdad, while gunmen stormed the house of a police officer, killing him, his wife, and a relative.

The shootings raised to at least five the number of police officers killed since Tuesday in Baghdad.

All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

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