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Harry Reid Fails To Prevent Kidnap Of 150 Iraqis

From those lovers of mayhem at the DNC’s Associated Press:

Iraqis inspect a blood stained wall at Baghdad’s al-Shuala neighborhood. Armed men wearing military-style uniforms have kidnapped around 150 people from the higher education ministry in the Iraqi capital, bringing teaching at Baghdad universities to a halt.

Gunmen kidnap up to 150 in Baghdad

By CHRISTOPHER BODEEN, Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD, Iraq – Gunmen dressed as police commandos kidnapped up to 150 staff and visitors in a lightning raid on a Baghdad higher education office Tuesday, in the largest mass abduction since the start of the U.S. occupation. At least 82 people were killed or found dead around the country.

Hours later, the Interior Ministry said three of the kidnap victims were apparently set free and found unharmed along eastern Baghdad’s Palestine Street.

They were taken from a Higher Education Ministry office that handles research grants and academic exchanges. The fate of the other kidnap victims remained unknown.

Iraq’s higher education minister immediately ordered all universities closed until security improvements are made, saying he was "not ready to see more professors get killed.

"I have only one choice which is to suspend classes at universities. We have no other choice," Abed Theyab said in an address to parliament. Theyab said he had repeatedly petitioned for more university security from the ministries of defense and interior, who command the police, but had received none.

In the day’s worst violence, 21 people were killed and 25 injured in a car bombing targeting traffic along a highway toward the Shiite slum of Sadr City, police Lt. Ali Muhssin Said.

Clothes merchant Mohammed Ali, 30, had closed his shop early and was heading home when the bomb blast threw him from his motorcycle.

"I could see people on fire. We tried to rescue some women from a minibus, but they died in our arms," Ali said.

News of Tuesday morning’s kidnapping sparked outrage after it was announced in parliament…

Alaa Makki, head of the parliament’s education committee, interrupted the body’s session Tuesday morning to say that between 100 and 150 people, both Shiites and Sunnis, had been abducted in the 9:30 a.m. raid.

He urged the prime minister and ministers of interior and defense to respond rapidly, calling the abductions a "national catastrophe." …

"It was quick operation. It took about 10 to 15 minutes," Theyab said. "It was a four-story building and the gunmen went to the four stories." He said the gunmen had at least 20 vehicles, but possibly many more.

Makki said the gunmen had a list of names of those to be taken and claimed to be on a mission from the government’s anti-corruption body to check on security ahead of a planned visit by the U.S. ambassador. Those kidnapped included the institute’s deputy general directors, employees, and visitors, he said.

Police and eyewitnesses said the gunmen, who numbered about 80, had closed off streets surrounding the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Scholarships and Cultural Relations Directorate. The institute is responsible for granting scholarships to Iraqi professors and students wishing to study abroad.

The facility appeared to be an easy target for the kidnappers, whose motives remain unknown. Police spokesman Maj. Mahir Hamad said four guards put up no resistance and were unharmed.

Eyewitnesses including a female professor visiting at the time of the kidnappings said the gunmen forced men and women into separate rooms, handcuffed the men, and loaded them aboard pickup trucks. She said the gunmen, some of them masked, wore blue camouflage uniforms of the type worn by police commandos.

Shiite militias and other illegal groups are known to wear stolen or fake police and army uniforms.

The abductions come amid a series of killings and other attacks on Iraqi academics that are robbing Iraq of its brain trust and prompting thousands of professors and researchers to flee to neighboring countries to escape the country’s boiling lawlessness and sectarian hatred.

Recent weeks have seen a university dean and prominent Sunni geologist murdered, bringing the death toll among educators to at least 155 since the war began. The academics apparently were singled out for their relatively high public stature, vulnerability and known views on controversial issues in a climate of deepening Islamic fundamentalism.

Ali al-Adib, a Shiite lawmaker, said there was little question Tuesday’s incident was a mass kidnapping and demanded that U.S. troops held responsible for the security lapse

In other violence, assailants killed seven passengers and wounded two others aboard a minivan ambushed Tuesday near Mandali along the Iranian border, 60 miles east of Baghdad, the Diyala provincial police spokesman’s office said.

Also in Diyala, two policemen were killed and seven wounded when their patrol was attacked at about 08:30 a.m. in a village just outside Muqdadiyah, about 60 miles north of Baghdad, the provincial police spokesman said.

Three insurgents were blown apart while attempting to plant a roadside bomb Monday night in a southern suburb of Mosul, 225 miles northwest of Baghdad, police Brig. Abdul-Karim Ahmed Khalaf said…

According to the wire services, both Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have yet to address this latest development. So who knows what to think.

But I am surprised that the Democrats are allowing such mayhem to continue now that they are in power.

Perhaps their colleagues on the ground in Iraq are still venting their understandable joy over their victory last Tuesday.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, November 14th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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