Robbers net $3.8 mln in deadly Baghdad heist
Thieves stole salaries of Iraqi police at the interior ministry
Bank robbers made off with at least $3.8 million before dawn on Tuesday, leaving eight police guards dead in one of Iraq's biggest-ever heists.
The money had just been transferred to state-owned Al-Rafidain bank's branch in the central Baghdad shopping district of Karrada on Monday, and none of the branch's doors or windows were damaged in the overnight raid.
"The thieves arrived and stole at least 5.6 billion dinars ($4.8 million), which we received yesterday for the salaries of policemen who work for the interior ministry," a bank employee told AFP asking not to be named.
The bank employee added that the money had arrived at the bank at around noon (0900 GMT) on Monday, and the break-in took place at around 4:00 am (0100 GMT) on Tuesday.
A police officer, who asked not to be identified, said an unknown number of gunmen entered the bank and managed to open the bank's safe, stealing all the money inside and killing eight police guards in the process.
The bodies of five of the guards were found in one room of the bank early on Tuesday. The bodies of the other three were found in a second room.
The heist follows a failed robbery at a Baghdad currency exchange shop on Sunday in which four security guards were killed and four other people wounded.
In Iraq's biggest-ever hold-up, robbers stole $13.5 million from a Rasheed Bank branch in Ramadi, around 100 kilometers (60 miles) west of Baghdad, on Jan. 13, 2005.
They left the bank's employees locked in a room, in an operation police said was conducted by insurgents seeking to replenish funds.
The thieves arrived and stole at least 5.6 billion dinars ($4.8 million), which we received yesterday for the salaries of policemen who work for the interior ministry
Iraqi bank officer