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Scores Kidnapped At Iraqi Ministry
Higher Education Minister Abed Thiyab promptly suspended classes at all universities, fearing that more professors or students could be targeted. He told parliament that he had repeatedly asked for more security to protect academic institutions but that his request had not been fulfilled.
"We strongly condemn this act because it is a savage terrorist action," Thiyab said. "This contradicts the sense of credibility in the new Iraq."
Alaa Maki, a Sunni politician who heads the parliament's education committee, interrupted a parliamentary session and branded the abductions a "national catastrophe."
At the ministry building, dozens of relatives of the kidnap victims had converged at the security gate. Some were openly wailing, others stood solemnly. They were Shiites, Sunnis and Christians seeking answers for the disappearance of their sons, brothers and cousins.
One angry Shiite man yelled at police officials investigating the scene: "Now you will say the militias did this. You will never be brave enough to say policemen did this."
On a nearby street, a man whose brother was a victim said: "Where can we go? The police kidnapped him."
Crouched against a wall, Jindeel Hassan was crying. His brother, Ali, was one of those kidnapped. Hassan said that his brother told him one month ago that the agency had received a threat letter.
"They are all clean people there," explained Hassan. "There are Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds, Christians, all educated people, working together."
"It's a big crime. I feel sadness, suffering, torture," Hassan added, directing his words at those who abducted Ali: "You leave the American occupiers, and you come and kill your country's sons?"