'Insurgents' kill three in Baghdad robbery

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The Independent Online

Gunmen stormed a Baghdad money exchange and killed three people yesterday, the latest in a spate of brash daylight robberies of banks or financial centres 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-Qa'ida 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 centre.

Police said they did not know how much money was stolen in the south-eastern New Baghdad neighbourhood. Fleeing the scene, the gunmen also opened fire on a crowd of people who rushed to the exchange in response to the shooting.

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

Violence across Iraq has decreased over the last few years, but there are still daily attacks. As violence has dropped, criminal activity has been on the rise.

The al-Qa'ida front group Islamic State of Iraq has spoken of the ease in which it has been able to carry out robberies. Also yesterday, a bomb attached to a Ramadi local health department pick-up truck exploded, killing the driver and wounding three bystanders, said city police and hospital officials. Ramadi is 70 miles west of Baghdad.