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Gunmen kill five in Iraq money exchange heist

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Sat, 7 May 2011 12:27 GMT
Author: Reuters
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* Armed robbers kill five, leave bomb injuring seven others

* Mandalawi, owner of firm with government contracts, killed

* Robbers leave car bomb that injures seven others

* Official says attack has hallmarks of al Qaeda

(Updates toll, adds quotes, details)

BAGHDAD, May 7 (Reuters) - Gunmen killed five people during the robbery of an Iraqi money exchange in the city of Baquba on Saturday and left behind a car bomb that injured seven others, security officials said.

The attackers stole 4 billion Iraqi dinar (${esc.dollar}3.4 million) from the company, which has contracts with the Iraqi government to pay retirees' pensions, and killed the owner, prominent businessman Adnan al-Mandalawi, a security official said.

Two security sources confirmed the toll and the robbery. An official earlier said the assault had taken place at a goldsmiths' market and that the attack had killed six people and wounded 10.

"The gunmen stole 4 billion Iraqi dinars and they put a car bomb near the exchange company, which exploded when security forces got to the scene," said a senior Diyala province security official who asked not to be named.

"It has the fingerprints of al Qaeda. It is clear from the planning of this terrorist operation," the official said.

The attack took place in central Baquba, the capital of troubled Diyala province, 65 miles (40 km) northeast of Baghdad.

Al Qaeda and other insurgents are still battling security forces in Diyala, where a volatile mix of Sunnis and Shi'ites, and Arabs and Kurds has made it difficult to restore peace.

Iraq's police and army have been on high alert for revenge attacks since U.S. commandos killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan on Monday.

Iraq became a major battleground for the Islamist militant group after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that ousted Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein.

On Thursday a suicide car bomber killed more than 20 people and wounded 80 at a police headquarters in the mainly Shi'ite city of Hilla. A deputy governor said al Qaeda was likely to have been behind the attack. (Reporting by Muhanad Mohammed: Writing by Jim Loney; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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