Wednesday, 30 May 2007

5 Britons Taken Hostage from Government Building in Iraq

The British government convened an emergency meeting of its Cobra crisis management committee on Tuesday afternoon after Five Britons were taken hostage in Iraq. The Britons, an IT expert and his four bodyguards, were seized from the Iraqi Finance Ministry in Baghdad by heavily-armed men who arrived in dozens of police vehicles wearing police and commando uniforms.

As of yet no group has taken responsibility for the kidnapping although witnesses say the abduction was carried out by what appeared to be a police unit. The street was sealed off at both ends and the kidnappers, in police camouflage uniforms, passed through security checkpoints at the finance ministry building on Palestine Street by showing apparently-genuine identity papers.

The Foreign Office says it is in "urgent" contact with Iraqi officials in a bid to resolve the crisis. Blair, who is currently on a trip to Libya , said: "We will do everything we possibly can to help."

I would love to know Blair's definition of "everything possible." Does that include discussing the kidnappers demands over a cup of tea or does it mean definitive action especially as they were kidnapped from a GOVERNMENT building. My thoughts and prayers are with the hostages and their families as I can not begin to imagine what they are going through.

Tragically, 38 people were also killed yesterday in two separate bombings in the Iraqi capital . 23 died and 68 were wounded when a bomb exploded in a packed minibus in Tayaran Square and a further 15 people were killed by another car bomb in the southwestern Amil district.

More than 200 foreigners and thousands of Iraqis have been kidnapped since the U.S.-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein in 2003 although this is the first time Westerners have been abducted from inside an Iraqi government building.

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