Four Egyptian engineers kidnapped in Iraq


Gunmen have kidnapped four Egyptian engineers working for a telecoms company in Iraq, Al Arabiya television said today.

The television's Baghdad correspondent said employees of mobile telephone company Iraqna - a subsidiary of Egypt's Orascom Telecom - told him gunmen abducted the engineers as they were leaving their homes in west Baghdad.

Gunmen have kidnapped about a dozen Egyptians in Iraq over the past year, including six from Iraqna, and are believed to have killed two of them.

All the others, including diplomat Mohamed Mahmoud Qutb, were freed, usually after negotiations through intermediaries. Last month, an unidentified armed group kidnapped an Egyptian oil company manager in Iraq.

Scores of foreigners have been kidnapped in Iraq over the past year.

Some have been released - often after payment of ransoms - but several have been killed by militant groups. Many more Iraqis have been kidnapped, usually for ransom.