3 slain in heist on Baghdad money exchange; 6 others die in Iraq violence

BAGHDAD (AP) — Gunmen stormed a Baghdad money exchange and killed three people Thursday, the latest in a spate of brash daylight robberies of banks or 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-Qaida 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 southeastern New Baghdad neighborhood. Fleeing the scene, the gunmen also opened fire on a crowd of people who 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 there are still daily attacks. As violence has dropped, criminal activity has been on the rise.

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

Also Thursday, a bomb attached to a Ramadi local health department pickup truck exploded, killing the driver and wounding three bystanders, said city police and hospital officials. Ramadi is 70 miles (115 kilometers) west of Baghdad.

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

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

In the Abu Ghraib area west of Baghdad, gunmen stormed a policeman's house, killing him, his wife and a relative, police officials said.

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


Associated Press Writer Bushra Juhi contributed to this report.