17 Palestinians abducted in Iraq

Palestinians, who had received preferential treatment under Hussein, are increasingly targeted for killings and kidnappings.

iraq arrest 88 (photo credit: )
iraq arrest 88
(photo credit: )
Men allegedly wearing uniforms of the Iraqi security forces abducted a group of 17 Palestinians in Baghdad early on Tuesday, the UN refugee agency said. Several uniformed men entered the building rented by UNHCR at 5 a.m., broke doors and windows and took away 17 Palestinian men but left women behind, the agency's spokesman Ron Redmond told reporters. Some of the Palestinians were released later on Tuesday, he said. But Redmond was unable to say how many and how they were released. "UNHCR is very concerned and is seeking information on the Palestinians' whereabouts from Iraqi authorities," he said. Redmond said around 15,000 Palestinians lived in Baghdad as refugees, but faced constant threats and were unable to move freely. "Palestinians are increasingly targeted for killings, kidnapping, harassment and other abuses," he said. "It's very difficult for Palestinians to move because of a lack of documentation." They were often unable to get the necessary paperwork to leave the country, Redmond said. "Many of those in Baghdad who have tried to leave have been turned back by militia," he added. Palestinians received preferential treatment during the regime of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and supported his 1990 invasion of Kuwait, but have become targets since Saddam's overthrow in 2003.