Earlier this morning, gunmen in police uniforms drove new pick-ups into this street in the suburb of Karrada, in Baghdad. They stormed a research facility of the Higher Education Ministry, rounding up at least one hundred employees, guards and visitors and driving away with them.
An Interior Ministry spokesman said a search had begun for the kidnap victims. But US officials suspect Shi‘íte militias aided by the security forces and the Interior Ministry are responsible for a number of mass kidnappings and sectarian killings in the country.
The Higher Education Minister belongs to a Sunni group in government. As the search goes on, mourners in a Shi’ite district of Baghdad buried their dead. Officials said US forces had killed six people in a raid overnight.
In the past months, US soldiers have raided several Shi’ite areas, searching for militants suspected of carrying out sectarian killings. The Shi’ite Iraqi Prime Minister is under pressure to stop the violence, but he says he needs time to build consensus between Shi‘ítes and Sunnis in his coalition.