Gunmen kidnap Iraqi bank boss, kill 5 guards

Gunmen wearing Iraqi special forces uniforms have kidnapped a wealthy businessman who part-owns a private bank and his son after killing five of their bodyguards, police said Friday.

Ghalib Abdul Hussein Kubba, director-general of the Basra International Bank, was abducted from his home in Baghdad's western Yarmouk suburb at about 9:30 p.m. Thursday, said Maj. Felah al-Mohammedawi.

The kidnappers arrived in a minibus and killed five guards at the house before seizing Kubba and his son, Hassan, who is a senior employee at the same bank, al-Mohammedawi cited relatives of the bank chief as saying.

"We think it is a criminal case because the bank director was not killed," al-Mohammedawi said. "We think the kidnappers will blackmail the family and they are after money. We have many similar cases of businessmen being abducted for money."

Police said no demands have been made to date. Bankers and businessmen have been kidnapped in the past and held for ransom.

Bank employee Kadhim al-Nuaimi said Kubba had headed the chamber of commerce in Basra, Iraq's second-largest city, 550 kilometers (340 miles) southeast of Baghdad, for about nine years during Saddam Hussein's regime.

After the U.S.-led invasion, Kubba moved to Baghdad to run Basra bank's branch in the capital, al-Nuaimi said. The bank was established in 1996 and also has branches in the southern Iraqi city of Najaf and Dubai in the Unite Arab Emirates, reports the AP.

I.L.

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