Gunmen stormed three Baghdad jewelry stores Sunday in what appeared to be coordinated robberies and clashed with security forces, leaving seven people dead.
The attack was the latest in a wave a violent crime that has swept the Iraqi capital over the past year as political violence has ebbed. Iraqi authorities have frequently blamed insurgents, saying they are hard up for cash and have turned to crime to raise money for other types of attacks.
The clashes began when two carloads of armed attackers stormed three jewelry stores in western Baghdad's mostly Sunni Mansour neighborhood, security officials said. They opened fire on the stores and killed the three owners, then scooped up as much jewelry as they could before soldiers and policemen opened fire on them.
Two police officers and two gunmen were killed in the firefight and five gunmen escaped with jewelry. Two police officials and a worker at Yarmouk hospital confirmed the death tolls. All spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to media.
Another police officer and two bystanders were injured in the shooting.
In other attacks Sunday across the Iraqi capital, bombs hidden on cars killed two Iraqis and wounded 10, police and health officials said. The explosions were the latest examples of attackers surreptitiously sticking bombs to cars, a tactic increasingly used by insurgents in cities.