Bank Open for Business Despite Bombings

(Sources: AFP, Trade Bank of Iraq)

The Trade Bank of Iraq insisted on Monday that it was open for business despite the damage wrought by two suicide bombers who blew their vehicles up in the street outside.

The bank, which is the conduit for much of the Iraqi government's foreign exchange transactions and dealings with investors, survived Sunday's attack without damage to essential documents, its chairman Hussein al-Uzri said.

However, three bank guards had been among the 26 dead and 53 wounded in the attacks. The casualties included children at a nearby school and people queuing to renew passports or identity cards in government offices along the street.

"Tight security measures prevented them (the bombers) destroying the bank but the terrorist action resulted in the deaths of three of the guards," Uzri said in a statement.

"Ten other employees were wounded slightly," he added, lowering an earlier casualty breakdown he had given on Sunday.

"They caused damage to windows and some false ceilings but the bank resumed its work this morning in all its branches," he said, rejecting reports by security official that the branch had been "seriously damaged".

"There was no fire and no documents were damaged," he said.

"The terrorist attack has damaged shops, and some people who were queuing outside nearby government offices were among the dead and injured," the bank chairman said.

"There were also casualties among pupils at a school close by who were sitting their end-of-year exams," Uzri added.

Sunday's attack on the Trade Bank of Iraq came just a week after five suicide bombers stormed the Central Bank of Iraq and killed 18 people during a four-hour siege.

The bank's Chairman issued the following statement:

"This attack on our headquarters in Baghdad, which has tragically cost the lives of five guards and wounded six others, was an act of cowardice by malevolent forces who wish to undermine the progress that Iraq is steadily making towards stability, peace and economic prosperity for all its people.

The Bank offers its deepest sympathy, and its support, to the victims of this atrocity, and to their families.

However, this cowardly attack was a failure. The Trade Bank of Iraq, and Iraq itself, are undeterred. The work of building Iraq's economic strength - which the Trade Bank of Iraq is doing so much, and very successfully, to support, and in which we are making significant progress year by year - goes on uninterrupted, as does the work of the Bank, which will be open for business tomorrow [21st June]."

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