Brother of Iraq's parliament speaker kidnapped

Gunmen in Iraqi army uniforms kidnapped the brother of one of Iraq's leading Sunni Arab politicians, police said Wednesday. A car carrying Hatam Mahdi al-Hassani, the brother of parliament speaker Hajim al-Hassani, and another person was ambushed Tuesday evening, said Col. Anwar Qader of Kirkuk police. Hatam Mahdi al-Hassani is a resident of Kirkuk's ethnically mixed oil-producing city 290 kilometers (180 miles) north of Baghdad. Hajim al-Hassani, a former industry minister, is running in the Dec. 15 general elections on a ticket headed by former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, a secular Shiite. Other prominent Sunni Arabs, including Vice President Ghazi al-Yawer, and elder statesman Adnan Pachachi are also on the ticket. It was unclear who was behind the kidnapping. Sunni insurgents have threatened members of their community who take part in politics, but Iraq also has numerous criminal gangs involved in kidnappings.