Senior Iraqi official kidnapped in Baghdad by masked men

No claims of responsibility for abduction of Iraqi deputy justice minister

Photo by: TRT WORLD
Photo by: TRT WORLD

Security sources say Abdel Karim al-Faris was taken captive by masked gunmen

Iraq’s acting Deputy Justice Minister Abdel Karim al Faris was abducted from a vehicle on Tuesday by masked gunmen in a north Baghdad district, according to security sources.

It was earlier reported that another official and two guards were also abducted, but this infomation was later denied by a spokesman for Baghdad operations command.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the kidnapping, with some agencies reporting it took place in the Bunouk district of the capital.

This is the second high-profile kidnapping in Baghdad in less than a week. Eighteen Turkish citizens working for a construction company responsible for building a sports complex were also seized in the northeastern district of Habibiya early last Wednesday.

Following the incident Iraqi security forces raided the headquarters of a powerful Iranian-backed Shiite militia, but failed to find the hostages, leaving behind a dead soldier and three others injured.

Similar crimes committed by well armed criminal gangs have occurred in Baghdad in the past few years, with offenses such as kidnappings, contract killings and extortion becoming common.

Baghdad has long struggled to restrain Shiite armed groups, many of which fought the US occupation and are now taking part in the fight against ISIS which is determined to take the capital after seizing parts of the north and west of Iraq last summer.

Last year 46 Turkish citizens were seized by ISIS militants in Mosul, but were released unhurt after being held hostage for more than three months.

Turkey recently began launching air attacks against ISIS in northern Syria and authorised US warplanes to use bases in southeastern Turkey to strike against the group.

TRTWorld and agencies