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Qaeda gunmen kidnap eight Iraqis

world Updated: Aug 23, 2008 17:13 IST

Dozens of suspected Al-Qaeda gunmen have kidnapped eight Iraqis from their homes in the restive province of Diyala, a military officer told AFP on Saturday.

The eight were abducted late on Friday in the village of Um al-Qutun near the town of Boh Ruz in Diyala, said the officer, speaking on condition of anonymity.

He said the eight were rounded up as they were planning to join a local anti-Qaeda group.

"This area was an Al-Qaeda stronghold until a week ago. But the militants fled as Iraqi forces were slowly approaching the area," the officer said.

Iraqi forces backed by US troops have launched a massive assault against insurgents and jihadists in Diyala, one of Iraq's most dangerous areas where Al-Qaeda fighters regularly carry out assaults.

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