Gunmen in military uniforms robbed government accountants as they left a Baghdad bank with bags of cash yesterday in the second bank heist in a week, and roadside bombs killed at least two civilians in the Iraqi capital.
Gunmen in four vehicles drove up to the Zuwiyah Bank in Baghdad's Karradah neighbourhood and fired automatic weapons in the air, then handcuffed guards and robbed accountants who had walked out of the bank with money belonging to the Ministry of Industry, police said.
The thieves escaped with more than one billion Iraqi Dinars (US$709,000), police said.
Hours later, guards at another downtown bank opened fire on a funeral procession, wounding a mourner. Police said the guards thought the coffin was fake, and that criminals were masquerading as mourners as part of an elaborate attempt to rob the bank. Police intervened and found the mourners to be genuine.
On December 11, gunmen disguised as Iraqi soldiers stopped a bank truck carrying US$1 million and stole the money.
The US military announced the death of a Marine in the insurgent stronghold of Anbar province, bringing to 61 the number of American military personnel killed in December. Some 2,950 US troops have been killed since the US-led 2003 invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein.
There was no word on the whereabouts of Ayham al-Samaraie, a former electricity minister who escaped from a police station inside the heavily fortified Green Zone where the dual US-Iraqi citizen was being held on corruption charges. Al-Samaraie walked out of the station on the weekend with the help of private guards who arrived at the station in sport utility vehicles, officials said on Monday.
A roadside bomb went off in rush hour yesterday morning near an electricity plant in southern Baghdad, killing two civilians and wounding nine others, police said.
The Iraqi Red Crescent said the total number of people seized in a mass kidnapping at the aid group's Baghdad office on Sunday was 42, and that 26 had been released. The Red Crescent, which has links to the international Red Cross, previously said 30 people were abducted.
All of the agency's Baghdad branches remain closed, but offices in other Iraqi provinces were open.
Source: China Daily