Gunmen stage mass kidnapping in Baghdad

By BAGHDAD, IRAQ
December 17, 2006 18:13

Gunmen dressed in Iraqi army uniforms burst into Red Crescent humanitarian organization offices Sunday and kidnapped more than two dozen people in the latest sign of the country's growing lawlessness. British Prime Minister Tony Blair, in Iraq on his sixth visit since the 2003 invasion, appealed for international support for Iraq's fragile government, saying the bloodshed was being carried out "by the very forces worldwide who are trying to prevent moderation." Blair and his Iraqi counterpart, Nouri al-Maliki, discussed preparations by British military units in Basra, the main city in southern Iraq, to turn over security to Iraqi forces. Britain expects to withdraw several thousand troops from Iraq next year, despite concerns that Iraqi forces are not ready to keep order on their own.


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