Seven killed, two injured in string of Iraq attacks
Seven people were killed and two others were injured Tuesday in a string of attacks across Iraq, security and media sources reported.
The attacks raised the death toll to 14 people killed over the past 24 hours, including those killed in two attacks at oil refineries.
Unknown gunmen opened fire on a car carrying four civil servants working for the Haditha refinery in the al-Saniya district of the city of Haditha, 250 kilometres north-west of Baghdad.
The four had just received their salaries, the Aswat al-Iraq news agency reported, making it the third major heist in Iraq this week that involved the gunmen knowing when to attack people carrying large amounts of cash.
In Hilla, some 100 kilometres north of Baghdad, one Iraqi soldier was killed by a bomb targeting an army patrol. Another person was killed when a bomb exploded near his car in a different area of the city.
A member of the Kurdish Peshmerga forces was shot dead by unknown gunmen driving a civilian car in the early morning in the northern city of Kirkuk.
Also in Kirkuk, an ethnically diverse city, a group of gunmen kidnapped a student in front of his house.
Further north in Mosul two people, including one policeman, were injured when an unknown attacker threw a grenade at a checkpoint in the city's west.
On Monday, seven employees of the Baiji oil refinery were shot dead and some 750 million dinars (640,000 dollars) in salary payments were stolen from them.
According to al-Sumaria television, the seven were holding onto the large sum in order to pay employees at the refinery. The gunmen managed to flee the scene and have not been captured.
The Baiji refinery, located some 130 miles north of Baghdad, can produce millions of dollars worth of oil a day, when it functions.
The refinery has been suffering from power problems caused by grid overload and is not working at full capacity. Earlier this month it was forced to shut down completely but has since reopened.
During another major heist this week, armed gunmen made off with around 600,000 dollars in a robbery Sunday of a vehicle transporting cash in western Baghdad to pay staff at a veterinary college.
The US military said it has now reduced its presence in Iraq to under 50,000 soldiers, a figure below the target set for the end of this month, when combat operations officially end.
All combat troops left the country last week, and the US has left behind a training and advisory force. All soldiers are scheduled to leave Iraq by the end of 2011.
Baghdad is still without a government since the March 7 elections, which failed to produce an outright winner. Coalition talks remain stalled, preventing parliament from meeting.