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Deputy Justice Minister Of Iraq Kidnapped In Baghdad

Gunmen in Baghdad kidnapped an acting deputy justice minister of Iraq on September 8 and wounded his driver, officials said.

Officials identified the man seized as Abdul Karim Fares, a director-general for financial and administrative affairs at the ministry, as well as an acting deputy minister.

A police colonel said black-clad kidnappers in several vehicles stopped his car in the Binook area in the city's northeast.

He said the driver was wounded by gunfire when he tried to intervene.

His "protection [force] was released, and now he is the only one kidnapped," Interior Ministry spokesman Brigadier General Saad Maan said.

The kidnapping came just four days after gunmen abducted 18 Turkish employees of a major construction firm in Sadr City, south of Binook.

The identity of the kidnappers in both cases is unknown.

Kidnappings for political reasons or money are a persistent problem in Baghdad, with criminal gangs and Shi'ite militias or their affiliates often identified as the culprits.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters