Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Gunmen steal $550,000 in Iraq

(AP) - Robbers dressed as police commandos hijacked an armored truck in eastern Baghdad on Wednesday, bound and gagged its guards, and made off with about $550,000 in Iraqi currency, police said. The bandits used what appeared to be two Iraqi police vehicles to set up a fake police checkpoint on Mohammed al-Qassim highway, near the Sinak district of the Iraqi capital, said two officers, both on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
The robbery took place around 1:30 p.m., they said. At first, the assailants offered to escort and protect the armored truck en route to downtown Baghdad, the officers said. Along the way, they forced the truck driver to pull over near Mustansiriya University, they said. Then they handcuffed and gagged all the truck's occupants - five guards, one accountant and a driver - and stole the money.
One officer quoted the accountant as saying the cash was being carried from a factory in Baghdad's Zafaraniyah neighborhood to a private bank. The victims drew attention from passing motorists, who alerted police. Authorities responded about an hour later, when they found the seven victims sitting unharmed in the empty armored truck by the side of the road, the officers said.
The assailants' identities were unknown, and it was unclear how they obtained what appeared to be two Iraqi police vehicles, in which they fled. One of the police officers who spoke to The Associated Press was on patrol at the time of the robbery and responded to the scene. The other was on duty in a local station and received multiple reports of the incident.

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