Death toll rises to 9 in robbery in western Baghdad

08:03, October 18, 2010      

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An Iraqi soldier stands guard near a goldsmith's shop after an attack during a robbery in Baghdad October 17, 2010. At least 12 people died when gunmen swooped down on a row of goldsmiths' shops in a brazen midday robbery in the Iraqi capital on Sunday and ended up in a gunfight with security forces, police and military sources said. (Xinhua/Reuters)

The death toll from robbery on jewelry stores in western Baghdad on Sunday rose to nine, while 12 others were wounded, an Interior Ministry source said.

"The latest reports said a total of nine people were killed and 12 others were wounded in the heist in Mansour neighborhood in the afternoon," the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

The attack took place at about 2:00 p.m. local time (1100 GMT) when gunmen blew up at least six bombs to cover their attack on several jewelry stores near the Sayd al-Haleeb area in Mansour neighborhood, the source said.

The gunmen robbed at least three stores and shot dead three employees before they snatched jewels and money, the source said.

Iraqi security forces close to the scene traded fire with the gunmen. Two gunmen and two policemen were killed, the source added.

Twelve civilians were wounded by the battle between the gunmen and the security forces, he said.

Earlier the source put the death toll at seven.

The attackers also threw hand grenades to cover their withdrawal, he said.

Reinforcement troops from the Iraqi security forces rushed to the area and immediately deployed in a nearby neighborhood to chase the gunmen, it added.

The troops blocked the roads leading to the scene for several hours after the attack and carried out search operation in the houses in the surrounding neighborhoods looking for the attackers who fled the scene.

Violence and sporadic high-profile attacks are still common in Iraqi cities, shaping a setback to the efforts of the Iraqi government to restore normalcy in the country after violence-torn Iraq held parliamentary elections about seven months ago.

Source: Xinhua
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