15 Iraqi athletes kidnapped by gunmen
The kidnappers have demanded a ransom of $100,000 in return for their freedom.india Updated: May 18, 2006 10:13 IST
Fifteen members of the Iraqi Tae Kwon Do team have been kidnapped between Fallujah and Ramadi, west of Baghdad, Iraq's Olympic Committee said.
"Armed men kidnapped 15 members of the national Tae Kwon Do team as they returned by coach from Amman," Jamel Abdel Karim of the committee said on Wednesday.
"The kidnappers have demanded a ransom of $100,000 in return for their freedom," he added.
The towns of Fallujah, 50 kilometres west of Baghdad, and Ramadi, 100 kilometres west of the capital, are focal points of Iraq's Sunni uprising.
Thousands of Iraqis have been kidnapped since US-led coalition forces invaded the country in March 2003.
Since an attack on a Shi'ite mausoleum in the Sunni town of Samarra, kidnappings followed by executions have increased dramatically.