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World in brief: 15 die in robbery on Baghdad street

Baghdad – Masked gunmen killed 15 people in a daring daytime robbery Tuesday, blasting their way into a Baghdad street of goldsmiths and shooting customers and storekeepers before fleeing with armfuls of gold.

Security officials quickly blamed the brazen midday attack in the southwestern neighborhood of Bayaa on the Sunni militant al-Qaida in Iraq, which is known to at least partially fund its operations through extortion and crime in the cities of Baghdad and Mosul.

Witnesses said 15 to 20 gunmen, wearing scarves over their faces and using pistols fitted with silencers, took part in the raid.

The thieves blocked the street with their vehicles and threw grenades as they moved among the stores, smashing windows and grabbing cash and jewelry.

Mayor arrested on drug charges

Cancun, Mexico – The mayor of the resort of Cancun was arrested Tuesday on drug trafficking, money laundering and organized crime charges.

A spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office said Gregorio Sanchez was arrested on the federal charges at the airport in Cancun.

Spokesman Ricardo Najera said the charges allege Sanchez played a role in fomenting or aiding drug trafficking.

Sanchez recently took a leave of absence from his mayoral post to run for governor of the Caribbean coastal state of Quintana Roo.

It’s believed to be the first time in recent memory that a gubernatorial candidate has been arrested in Mexico on drug charges.