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Page last updated at 20:38 GMT, Saturday, 1 August 2009 21:38 UK

Iraqi officer 'behind bank heist'

A police car stands outside the Rafidain bank in Baghdad's Karrada district on 28 July, after the robbery there
There is widespread suspicion that the robbers were helped from inside

An Iraqi army captain, possibly helped by presidential bodyguards, is believed to have been behind a major bank robbery in Baghdad, officials say.

Tuesday's robbery, in which eight people were killed and millions of dollars stolen, was among the biggest in Baghdad's history.

The money has since been recovered from inside a government compound in the city centre.

Two people have been arrested but another is still at large, police say.

A tip-off on Friday led police to the compound, close to the bank where the robbery took place in the district of Karrada.

Police believe that presidential bodyguards may have been involved in the robbery, which netted about $7m (£4m) worth of Iraqi dinars.

The BBC's Natalia Antelava in Baghdad says this theory matches a widespread suspicion that the robbers had some inside help.

The gunmen stormed the bank at dawn just after it had received a large transfer of cash.

They got through five heavily armed checkpoints and no doors or windows were broken.

They then fired at security guards before using dynamite to open the vault where the money was kept.

Security officials say there are links between the armed insurgency and organised crime in Iraq, but our correspondent says that the alleged involvement of the presidential bodyguards shows that law enforcement agencies could also be part of the problem.

A few months ago, Iraq's own anti-corruption agency said the police and army were among the country's most corrupt institutions.



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