BAGHDAD, (Reuters) – Gunmen kidnapped 11 Iraqi soldiers travelling in a minibus at a fake checkpoint in a town north of Baghdad on Saturday, a joint U.S. and Iraqi policing centre said.
The soldiers were wearing civilian clothes and were taken out of the bus at gunpoint after the gunmen found their military IDs.
The abduction took place in Udhaim, some 50 km (30 miles) north of Baquba, a volatile town which has witnessed recent sectarian violence and attacks against Iraq’s U.S.-trained forces.
On Thursday, 28 policemen were killed in an insurgent ambush near Baquba. That attack followed a separate ambush on Sunday on a convoy of buses near Baquba in which 13 police recruits were killed and several more were reported kidnapped.
Building Iraq’s security forces to take over security from U.S. troops is a key element in Washington’s plans for an eventual withdrawal of its 140,000 troops.
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki told Reuters in an interview this week that his forces were outgunned by insurgents and that Iraqi police sometimes had to share rifles.