Monday, July 31, 2006

Baghdad gunmen kidnap 25 people


Gunmen wearing Iraqi police uniforms have kidnapped 25 people in a commercial district in central Baghdad, interior ministry officials said.
The gunmen pulled up in 15 vehicles and rounded up staff and customers of a firm on a shopping street in Arasat.

There are reports that the offices belong to the Iraqi-American chamber of commerce, while others say it was a mobile phone shop.

Mass kidnappings have become a feature of the sectarian violence across Iraq.

It is not known who might be behind this incident.

One witness told the Reuters news agency they saw gunmen handcuff and blindfold the victims.

Police say the head of the chamber of commerce and 11 of his employees are among those kidnapped, Reuters have reported.

A guard standing across the street said the kidnappers arrived in police cars without number plates.

"They separated the women from the men and took only men," he told the AFP news agency.

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