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BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi gunmen killed at least seven people and wounded ten more on Wednesday in a robbery of gold merchants in a Shi'ite district of northwestern Baghdad, hospital and security officials said.
Iraq's government has warned of a recent spike in crime, including daring daytime bank heists and murders, which some security officers believe is linked to a still-active insurgency in a country just emerging from years of war.
The gunmen stormed some of the gold shops in a market in Shula district, using small arms to kill a few owners then tossing grenades to make their getaway, witnesses said.
"They were shooting everywhere ... there was a lot of mess," Abu Sajad, who was wounded in the leg, said from a hospital.
Blood stained the ground outside some shops, according to a Reuters witness said.
Security officials said that seven people were killed. A health official confirmed that seven bodies, along with ten people who had been wounded, arrived at a local hospital. Police had originally said eight people had died and 14 were wounded.
Six soldiers and an officer were also arrested for failing to protect the area, the Baghdad operations centre said in a statement.
In July, bank robbers staged a spectacular heist in Baghdad, making off with nearly $7 million (4.4 million pounds) and killing eight people. They were arrested later.
Iraq has seen a dramatic drop in violence over the past 18 months after Washington sent thousands of extra troops and built alliances with tribal leaders to battle a stubborn insurgency, but attacks are still common in Baghdad and ethnically and religiously mixed areas north of the capital.
(Writing by Jack Kimball; editing by Missy Ryan)