A radical Shi’ite militia group, the Mahdi Army, is thought to be behind yesterday’s kidnapping of five Britains from a finance ministry building in the Iraqi capital Baghdad. Embassy officials are in urgent contact with the Iraqi authorities as a search got under way. Of those abducted, four were in Iraq working for a Canadian based security company – Gardaworld. They were protecting a client said to be a computer expert who was also taken.
Former SAS soldier Robin Horsfall explained the attraction Iraq holds despite the risks.
“They go out there for the money,” he said. “People are coming back with £500 [D;736] a day and they can pay their mortgages off in a year so that’s the main attraction. A lot of soldiers who earn £500 a week are retiring, coming back and then going back into the same environment to earn much, much greater money.”
There is speculation that the raid which involved more than 40 heavily armed men is in retaliation for the recent US killing of a top operative in the Mahdi militia.
Elsewhere in Baghdad two bombs exploded within an hour of each other killing around 40 people. One bomb was in a parked mini bus – the other in a car. Both went off in a busy commercial district in the centre of the Iraqi capital. And May is turning into one of the deadliest months for American troops. A total of 113 have died so far.