Three Iraqi presidential guards kidnapped near northern town

World Friday 12/February/2016 20:30 PM
By: Times News Service
Three Iraqi presidential guards kidnapped near northern town

Baghdad: Three members of Iraq's presidential guard were kidnapped on Friday near a checkpoint run by militiamen close to the northern district of Tuz Khurmatu, police and a local official said.
Four other people, including a government employee, were killed in separate incidents, the police said, in and around the district - about 175km (110 miles) north of Baghdad - where violence has flared in recent months.
Kurdish and Turkmen paramilitary forces have been uncomfortable allies against IS since driving the ultra-hardline militants out of towns and villages in the area in 2014 with the support of US-led airstrikes.
The tensions risk further fragmenting Iraq as it struggles to contain IS, the biggest security threat since a US-led invasion toppled former leader Saddam Hussein in 2003.
Efforts to push back the insurgents have been complicated by sectarian and ethnic rivalries, including a contest for territory which the government in Baghdad claims, but the Kurds want as part of their autonomous region in the north of the country.
The presidential guards were travelling in a private vehicle towards Baghdad when they were taken by unknown gunmen around midday, said Mahdi Taqi, a member of the provincial council in Salahuddin where the district is located. Police from Tuz Khurmatu confirmed the details.
Separately, gunmen opened fire on a car carrying guards from the electricity ministry, killing one and critically wounding four others, police said.
Three civilians were killed in two separate incidents, and two others were also kidnapped.