Another mysterious attack on Baghdad business

For the third time in as many days, gunmen stormed a Baghdad business on Wednesday, this time lining 14 employees against the wall and shooting them all. Eight died in the attack and six were wounded. At least 13 other people died in violence.

Politicians working to form a new government, meanwhile, canceled their multiparty talks Wednesday, saying they needed time to consult with their political blocs over the critical issue of what powers the next prime minister would have over security issues.

It was the second time this week political leaders shunned a session meant to overcome the government stalemate that is in its sixth week.

The attack on the al-Ibtikar electronics trading firm was conducted by gunmen who drove up in five black BMWs shortly after 8 a.m., said police Lt. Maitham Abdul-Razzaq. The attackers set fire to some of the company facility but took no money.

Survivors told police some of the attackers wore police uniforms and said they were intelligence agents of the Interior Ministry, which overseas police. Survivors said the gunmen asked for the company manager, who was not there, and then opened fire on the 14 workers.

The motive for the attack, the second on a firm in the upscale Mansour neighborhood this week, was not immediately clear, but a key lawmaker blamed al-Qaida or Saddam loyalists.

"These are concentrated efforts to paralyze the country. They are either from al-Qaida or for the remnants of Saddam's regime. They want to tell the people that there is no government," said Kurdish lawmaker Mahmoud Othman, reports AP.


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