Thursday, November 16, 2006

Iraq gov't in crisis after staff abducted, tortured

BAGHDAD (AFP) - Kidnappers tortured many of the dozens of hostages seized in a daylight raid on a government building and killed some of them, a minister said as he warned that he felt
Iraq no longer had an effective government.

Higher Education Minister Abed Dhiab al-Ujaili, a Sunni Arab member of the Shiite-led unity government, said some 75 hostages remained in captivity after the raid by militiamen wearing police-style uniforms, 40 of them his ministry's staff.

The minister's comments came as the sectarian violence in the capital showed no let-up.

Gunmen stormed a bakery in the mixed Zayuniyah neighbourhood and killed nine Shiite workers in the latest in a spate of attacks by Sunni insurgents on a trade that has traditionally been carried out by the majority community.

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