Iraq: Number of kidnapped scientists rises to 150

Gunmen wearing Interior Ministry commando uniforms kidnapped up to 150 staff members from a government research institute in downtown Baghdad on Tuesday, the head of the parliamentary education committee said. An Iraqi news report said both Shi'ites and Sunnis had been abducted in the raid at about 9:30 a.m. (0630 GMT). He urged the prime minister and ministers of interior and defense to rapidly respond to what he called a "national catastrophe." Police and eyewitnesses said gunmen closed off roads around the institute in the downtown Karradah district at about 9:30 a.m. (0630 GMT), and loaded their handcuffed captives onto pickup trucks before driving away to an unknown destination.