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50 security workers abducted in Iraq

Gunmen wearing commando uniforms stormed an Iraqi security company spiriting away 50 hostages.

india Updated: Mar 09, 2006 19:05 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

Gunmen wearing commando uniforms of the Shiite-dominated Interior Ministry stormed an Iraqi security company that relied heavily on Sunni ex-military men from the Saddam regime, spiriting away 50 hostages.

The ministry denied involvement and called the operation a "terrorist act."

Police and the US military, meanwhile, reported finding the bodies of 24 men on Wednesday who were shot in the head, most of them in an abandoned bus in a tough Baghdad Sunni neighbourhood.

They also reported the deaths of at least 15 others across Iraq, including a US soldier and two Marines.

The Sunni minority, which was dominant in the country under Saddam Hussein, has complained bitterly that it is under attack from death squads associated with the Interior Ministry, in charge of Iraq's police.

And, over the past two weeks - since the bombing of a Shiite shrine in Samarra - violence has become increasingly sectarian. Nearly 600 people have been killed since February 22.

Many of the dead in that period were Sunnis, killed at close range after apparently being captured by overwhelming numbers of attackers.

The nature of the killings suggested that a well-armed and organized force carried out the attacks.

There have also been repeated attacks against the Shiite-led security forces. Interior Minister Bayan Jabr and one of his assistants may themselves have been targets of assassination attempts on Wednesday.

A bomb hidden under a parked car detonated as police from Jabr's protection force were driving through Baghdad, killing two officers and wounding a third, police said.

First Published: Mar 09, 2006 18:02 IST