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Qatari hunters kidnapped in Iraq

Several members of a Qatari hunting party have been kidnapped by gunmen in Iraq. It's the second kidnapping in three months of foreigners in Iraq.

Police sources in Iraq's Muthanna province said at least 26 Qatari hunters had been kidnapped by gunmen and taken away in several pickup trucks.

According to one source, around 100 gunmen descended upon the camp in the early hours of Wednesday morning and took the men away. Two members of the Iraqi security forces accompanying the hunting party were also seized, but later released.

Qatari state news agency QNA cited a foreign ministry statement saying Doha was working with Iraqi authorities to secure the hunters' release. The statement also said that the hunters had entered Iraq without an official permit, and that the two countries' foreign ministers had discussed the issue by phone.

Regional tension

It is not uncommon for wealthy Gulf state citizens to participate in hunting trips to countries such as Iraq, where regulations aren't as strict.

Just over three months ago, 18 workers from a Turkish construction company were kidnapped by gunmen but later released unharmed.

Some Iraqis take issue with Gulf countries' involvement in the Syrian civil war.

mz, blc/msh (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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