Two female Italian aid workers have been kidnapped in the Iraqi capital. The abductions came amid continued fighting around the Iraqi city of Fallujah as well as in Baghdad.
Reports from Baghdad say armed men forced their way into the offices of an Italian aid group and kidnapped two women, both said to be in their late 20s. Witnesses say the gunmen also took an Iraqi man who worked for the group as well as an Iraqi woman who was visiting the compound at the time, says Voice of America.
The abductions raised the stakes in kidnappings that have gripped Iraq for months, with more than 100 foreigners and Iraqis seized since April mostly outside of the capital.
The latest abductions are likely to fuel uncertainty over the fate of two French journalists whose kidnappings have triggered intense diplomatic efforts to free them.
Aside from unleashing suicide bombers and shooting attacks, insurgents have carried out kidnappings in a campaign designed to drive out foreign companies and troops allied with the US military.
Targets have included about 2,700 Italian troops, the third largest in Iraq, whose staunch pro-American government has refused to cave in to guerrilla demands that they leave, writes Indian Express.
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According to Russian officials, the detainees are employees of the private security company who were on their way to Latin America via Minsk and Istanbul. Lukashenko calls Russian officials liars