September 8, 2015 / 1:37 PM / 2 years ago

Iraq's deputy justice minister kidnapped in Baghdad

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq’s acting deputy justice minister was kidnapped from his vehicle on Tuesday by black-clad gunmen in northern Baghdad, security sources said, the second high-profile abduction in the capital in less than a week.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Baghdad has seen a proliferation in recent years of well armed criminal gangs that carry out contract killings, kidnappings and extortion.

Some members of powerful Shi‘ite armed groups, which are seen as a critical deterrent against Islamic State militants, have also been accused of kidnapping people for political or criminal purposes.

Ministry spokesman Haider Saadi confirmed the abduction of acting deputy minister Abdel Karim Faris. The security sources said another official and two guards were also kidnapped, but a spokesman for Baghdad operations command later denied that.

Last week, gunmen seized 18 Turkish construction workers from a sports stadium they were building in northeastern Baghdad. Iraqi security forces investigating the incident later raided the headquarters of a powerful Iranian-backed Shi‘ite militia, but the workers are still missing.

Reporting by Saif Hammed; Writing by Stephen Kalin; Editing by Tom Heneghan

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