The ministry of interior announced that the gunmen who robbed a Baghdad bank last Tuesday were arrested yesterday. The gunmen, who are reportedly included two security forces officers, had stormed a bank in the Karrada district of Baghdad and stole $7 millions after killing 8 guards.
The robbery and the quick apprehension of the robbers turned into heated exchanges of defamation among politicians and affiliated media outlets.
State-owned al-Sabah reported that the MOI “declined to reveal the identity of those involved in the robber of the Ziwiyah bank in Baghdad. The MOI only reaffirmed that the stolen money was retrieved and delivered to the ministry of finance”. The report added that the MOI believes that “the gang executed the operation without the knowledge of their employer”.
By “employer” the MOI is implicitly referring to someone closely affiliated with the ISCI and VP Aadil Abdul-Mahdi. Other media outlets like al-Sharqiya was less reserved in alluding to links between the robbers and the ISCI. Others like Azzaman say the whole story of the arrest was faked by the MOI to cover up for their failure to prevent recent violent attacks in Baghdad.
On the other side, Buratha News, a website closely affiliated with the ISCI posted a very awkward report in defense of Abdul-Mahdi. It goes like this:
“Informed sources mentioned that the Ziwiyah robbery, in which 9 guards were killed, was executed by a group of Iraqi Army officers; one officer is from the 9th brigade, and the other is from the presidential battalion. The robbers were identified by the personal guards of Dr. Aadil Abdul-Mahdi. As a result, Dr. Abdul-Mahdi went to meet al-Maliki without an appointment. The sources mentioned that Maliki was asleep at the time but he was awakened and briefed on the subject by VP Abdul-Mahdi who asked Maliki to let the presidential battalion raid the location. Maliki agreed and the raiding force captured one of the officers and found the stolen money. The criminal confessed that he had hidden the money at the Adala (Justice) newspaper (an ISCI publications) where he works as a security guard because he thought security forces wouldn’t search there. The sources also denied the culprits had any political affiliation”.