14 Jun 2010

Attack on Iraq central bank kills 15

7:45 am on 14 June 2010

At least 15 people have been killed and dozens wounded in a bomb and gun attack on the Iraqi central bank in Baghdad.

Suicide bombers detonated at least one bomb and gunmen battled troops in what officials said may have been a raid on the vaults.

The attack occurred as bank employees were leaving work, sending a thick plume of smoke over Baghdad after the bank's generator was set ablaze.

Soldiers and police locked down Baghdad's main arteries, with the capital on high alert for the first session of Iraq's new parliament on Monday after a March election that has yet to yield a government.

Baghdad security spokesman Major General Qassim al-Moussawi said it is not clear whether the attack was a robbery or an attempt to cause destruction.

He told state television four suicide bombers and three gunmen were killed.

One Interior Ministry source said dozens of attackers in military uniforms were involved and most escaped.

Recent weeks have seen a spurt of deadly gold market robberies and attacks by suspected Sunni Islamist insurgents.

Many of the groups that took up arms after the 2003 US-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein have turned to crime as the sectarian war and al Qaeda-led insurgency fade.