Iraqi policemen thwart robbery of al-Rafidain bank

Gunmen detonated a bomb at the entrance of an al-Rafidain bank branch, but policemen prevented them from robbing it. [Ahmed Malik/Reuters]

Gunmen detonated a bomb at the entrance of an al-Rafidain bank branch, but policemen prevented them from robbing it. [Ahmed Malik/Reuters]

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Iraqi police thwarted an armed robbery targeting a branch of the state-owned al-Rafidain bank in al-Resala neighbourhood in southern Baghdad on Thursday (September 30th).

Ten gunmen attacked the bank at 11:30 a.m., first detonating a bomb at the entrance and then attacking the policemen in charge of guarding the bank with machinegun fire in an attempt to control the building, said Baghdad Operations Command spokesperson Maj. Gen. Qassim Atta.

"A clash took place between the attackers and the security forces that were in charge of protecting the bank, and one terrorist was killed," Atta said. "However, the security forces managed to thwart the attack and to protect citizens' and state money from theft."

Atta said the policemen arrested four of the attackers, while the rest fled the scene. The officer in charge of the bank's protection force and one policeman were killed in the clash. Nine civilians who were nearby at the time of the attack were wounded.

"The policemen were surprised when the terrorists attacked the bank at a time citizens were present nearby," Lt. Col. Ali Hashim of Baghdad police said. "However, the quick response by the policemen and their desire to protect the assets of the state and citizens thwarted the attack."

"The attempted robbery was planned very carefully and accurately," Hashim added. "We are certain that the terrorists tried to get control of the bank money and steal it to finance their terrorist operations and other illegal activities."

Hashim said security forces identified the vehicle the attackers used, expressing hope that investigations would lead to the arrest of the fugitives.

Col. Mushtaq Talib, official spokesperson for Baghdad Police Command, said the ability of the policemen to thwart the attack "is proof of the preparedness of the Iraqi forces and their dedication to their work."

According to Talib, only five policemen were in charge of protecting the bank.

"The police force could have surrendered to the big number of attackers and protect themselves," Talib said. "However, they refused to give in to the terrorists' threats and preferred to defend the assets of the state and citizens. This is a living example of how the Iraqi police must be everywhere."

Police arrest two suspects in Anbar

Also on Thursday, Anbar Police Command arrested the suspected "mastermind" of the suicide attack that targeted a popular restaurant in Fallujah on September 19th and his assistant. The attack killed and wounded more than 15 people.

"The intelligence bureau and anti-terrorism unit arrested terrorist Alaa Hussain al-Azzawi and his aide in a security operation carried out in the area of Husayba al-Sharqiya, west of Fallujah, Thursday at dawn," said Anbar Police Chief Maj. Gen. Bahaa al-Karkhi.

The two suspects were arrested at a building in a remote area with 340 sticks of TNT, 80 detonators, 100 mortar shells, and a number of explosives vests in their possession.

"The defendants confessed in the initial investigation that they were behind the terrorist operation," al-Karkhi said. "They also turned in a number of members in their terrorist cell who are now being pursued by specialised security teams."

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    مختار صادق

    2010-10-22

    The Iraqi government must provide more protection for Iraqi banks, especially since cases of theft have been repeated many times and have become a quick way to obtain money for weak-spirited people who find it easy to rob banks, relying on their poor security systems. Therefore, continuation of this situation is unacceptable, because Iraqi money is in need of more protection. In fact, this issue is one of the Iraqi government’s duties, and it must provide all necessary ways and means to protect these banks, such as increasing the number of security forces who are responsible for protecting such places, and making use of modern monitoring and tracking technology. In addition, they must make it the responsibility ofall security personnel in banks to check even officials or their guards, so as to avoid such acts, which occur as a result of lax security toward those who compromise with criminals and thieves to steal people’s money.

  • الناظر

    2010-10-20

    Bank robberies… kidnappings…murder in front of the children…assassinations… Iraq looks like a Hollywood movie….

  • سالم

    2010-10-18

    After the attacks against several banks in Iraq, especially the main banks that play a key role in strengthening the Iraqi economy, the government has to secure these banks against any robbery that may be carried out by the cowardly terrorists in the future. The terrorists will not stop their crimes against the public properties in Iraq, because they are now in urgent need of money to cover the expenditures of their bombs and cars, particularly given that many countries have stopped supporting them in the recent period. Hence, all the concerned authorities and security agencies have to work towards ending this phenomenon that has targeted the Iraqi banks in the recent period. The media publishes news about bank robberies without identifying those who stand behind these robberies. Now the Iraqi government has to work in a better way, to secure the entrances and exits of the banks in Iraq. Such attacks by the terrorists will make us beware, because these attacks have happened many times, and the security forces have to arrest those terrorists, so they will not repeat their crimes of stealing the money of the Iraqi people. Hence, I call on the Iraqi government to provide them with the weapons and the materials that will allow them to maintain security and stability all the time and under all circumstances. In addition, the Iraqi government has to use the modern technologies that are used in the international banks, such as cameras and strong safes, in addition to intensifying the security work inside the Iraqi banks. The government should also provide them with modern alarm systems. In this way, we will help the Iraqi economy to stabilize. We cannot allow these bank robberies to happen again in Iraq, because this means that the Iraqi government is inefficient and that the Iraqi security forces are incapable of protecting the wealth of Iraq from robbery. Hence, I demand that the Iraqi government and the security forces secure protection for the Iraqi forces against the robberies and terrorist acts.

  • محمد صلاح

    2010-10-18

    The terrorists and the criminal gangs are behind the attacks on the Iraqi banks and bank robberies, because they want Iraq to turn into a home for destruction and organized crime. The terrorists resorted to these acts to finance their criminal plans and operations that kill the innocent Iraqi citizens, and to buy the weapons and explosives to blow up the Iraqi men, women and children. The criminal terrorists carry out these operations, because they do not want Iraq to recover or make progress. They want money to satisfy their terrorist desires and their love for bloodshed. All the Iraqi officials have to pay attention to these terrorist plans that will be implemented from time to time to allow the terrorists to get money, because most countries have withdrawn their support for terrorism. This means that the terrorists will carry out such attacks frequently to cover the expenses of their terrorist operations and elements in Iraq. Therefore, the government has to provide the main public and private banks with security teams in military uniforms and civilian clothes, including men and women. Those security elements must receive specialized training in handling all the situations that may occur to confront the robberies that have started targeting the Iraqi banks in the recent period.

  • خالد عبد المهيمن

    2010-10-17

    Frankly speaking, I do not think that it is only criminal gangs, thieves and robbers who carry out such acts, because this issue needs great force and many plans and measures to succeed. Thus, I firmly believe that those who rob banks in Iraq are senior officials in the security services who are assisted by criminals or security forces members who do not believe in the new Iraq. The latter want to achieve wealth, profits and fortune at the expense of Iraqis, since robbery operations have become something natural for banks in Iraq. Indeed, in the past, no one dared to attack them, which proves that the offenders have a relationship with the government or some of its prominent figures. Therefore, sneaking out of banks will be easy, just like their escape or disappearance, because they have four-wheel drive cars, security-equipped government cars, and badges or identifications that enable them to cross checkpoints. As a matter of fact, all the robbery operations have been registered against unknown people, because the government knows the offenders and cannot track them down, since they are backed by strong parties or prominent figures.

  • كمال قادر الدولعي

    2010-10-14

    The attacks on the banks were carried out by the evil terrorist organization of al-Qaeda and some gangs that have connections with this organization. They carried out these attacks to get money in any way possible, and to affect the Iraqi economy, which has started developing at a faster pace. They also wanted to affect the banking movement and dealings with the international market. However, the main cause, in my opinion, is to obtain money to finance its terrorist operations and recruit additional youth with this money. This is due to al-Qaeda having lost all its financial sources inside and outside Iraq.

  • مصعب

    2010-10-14

    Robberies carried out against Iraqi banks are a new problem facing Iraq, and they are causing a decline in the security and stability that the country has experienced recently. These incidents show that there are some bands or members of al-Qaeda that are still able to carry out armed robberies in daylight. Where are the security checkpoints and what is the duty of the detachments scattered everywhere? How can they allow these armed elements to roam in the city and get access to the banks to rob them? Therefore, this security vacuum in the banks must be addressed, because these terrorists and gangs exploit this vacuum to attack the banks, especially as these incidents have been repeated more than once.

  • أحمد

    2010-10-13

    The brave Iraqi security forces are still putting out the best presentations and sacrifices in order to maintain the country and its security and integrity, as well as the security of all the departments and banks. These forces have recently foiled more than one operation through which the terrorists and criminal gangs wanted to carry out armed robberies of banks, especially those located in the capital, Baghdad. But our security forces quickly destroyed them. The elements of the security forces sacrifice their lives, and this is evidence of increased national consciousness and sacrifice for the country, to deny the terrorists the opportunity to enjoy stealing the world’s money and to use it in killings. I thank them for their efforts, and I thank them for the heroic efforts they make in order to protect these banks and prevent attacks against them, even if it is an armed attack.

  • عباس البهادلي

    2010-10-13

    The security forces actually need the cooperation of the citizens, and the citizens need the security forces to provide security for them and their families and to improve the security situation. So I think that the two parties need each other. Eventually, the country needs both parties in order to serve it. I emphasize here that without the existence of a national consciousness and love of country by both parties, security and safety cannot be achieved in any country. Cooperation between the citizens and the security forces is the only way to get rid of terrorism, to thwart their operations and to arrest them along with their elements in their hideouts. Cooperation between the citizens and security forces in the last year proved that it is the solution, because many terrorists were arrested, and many operations, which had been planned and prepared by the terrorists to kill innocent people, were foiled.

  • عمر

    2010-10-11

    Joint cooperation between the citizen and the security forces is the only way to get rid of the disaster of terrorism, which is causing the destruction of the country. Hence, we should always urge the citizen to offer help. We have already seen many heroic Iraqi families that reported on terrorists, or suspicious activities, elements or cars to the security forces. This helped in preventing and thwarting several terrorist operations, as well as arresting many terrorists. I certainly support this cooperation that harms the terrorists, weakens their organization, and helps in arresting them. This cooperation must be continuous and I advise every citizen to take this step, which is considered a patriotic duty for each one of the children of Iraq, to get rid of those scums.

  • منير

    2010-10-11

    Indeed, the security forces proved that they are the men of difficult missions and the heroes of Iraq. The terrorists attacked a number of the banks in Baghdad, and their sole aim was to get money to finance their organization. However, the heroes of the security forces deterred them and sent a message that undermining the security situation is no longer acceptable or possible. Al-Qaeda will not be able carry out its crimes in broad daylight or at night. All the operations of the security forces were successful. Hence, we ask the security forces to continue their efforts and strong performance, to deprive the terrorists from getting money to finance their organization. Let us tighten our grip around them and make them collapse more and more. However, we should expect that al-Qaeda will carry out more robberies. This requires strengthening the security measures in all banks, all over Iraq. As for the security forces, they should be ready, as always, to interfere in such cases. Thanks to the sincere heroes of the security forces, who will destroy al-Qaeda. Greetings to those patriotic men from every Iraqi citizen.

  • عبدالناصر

    2010-10-2

    The decisive security solution requires the immediate trials and execution of the punishment against the criminals, to set an example for every naive and stupid, brainwashed person who joins the terrorists. Have they not asked themselves about their objectives and what they have offered to their home? Have they not inquired why their leaders do not carry out the operations to go to their alleged Paradise and Houris? Those leaders know that they will be destroyed in this world and then doomed to hell in the hereafter. You are a group of bankrupts, addicts, homosexuals, and the scum of the societies… they call themselves the jihadists of Al-Qaeda, hiding in the dark holes behind the cowardly and stupid followers who only killed the mulish people, because their minds are corrupted and their thought is perverted. They are traitors and agents of the enemies… May God curse them and whoever supports or harbors them… they are the dogs and the firewood of Hell.