Two Filipino women abducted in Iraq after their car breaks down


The women were travelling with three other nationals of the Philippines on their way to Erbil when they were taken by unknown men

The identities, affiliation, and motivation of those involved were not immediately clear (AFP)
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Last update: 
Sunday 8 July 2018 11:27 UTC

Two Filipino women have been abducted in Iraq on a road connecting the capital Baghdad to the oil city of Kirkuk, according to military, police, and local officials.

The women were travelling with three other nationals of the Philippines on their way to Erbil, the capital of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region, when their car broke down on Saturday, two military sources told the Reuters news agency.

The two women got out of the vehicle and unknown men drove by in a yellow car and took them, a military source said.

The identities, affiliation, and motivation of the kidnappers were not immediately clear, the sources said.

There has been an uptick in attacks and abductions by the Islamic State group over the past few weeks near the area the women were taken from.

At least eight members of the security forces were abducted and later killed by Islamic State on that same road last month.

Last week, Iraqi forces launched a major operation against IS following public anger over the militants' murder of a group of abducted civilians.

Dubbed "Vengeance for the Martyrs," the operation was set to see army, special forces, police and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters hunting down IS cells in the centre of the country.

Some of the abductees had appeared in a video in which IS threatened to execute them unless Baghdad released female prisoners.

The Joint Operations Command (JOC) statement said army, federal police, special forces, Peshmerga fighters and the Hashd al-Shaabi (PMUs) had launched "a vast operation to clear out the region east of the Diyala-Kirkuk" highway.

The operation was being supported by the Iraqi air force and the US-led coalition that intervened against IS in Iraq and Syria after the armed group seized control of large parts of both countries in 2014.

One fighter had already been killed and eight captured, the JOC said, adding that equipment including vehicles and bombs had been destroyed.