Gunmen kidnap eight Iraqis in Diyala raid

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Gunmen kidnapped eight Iraqis from their homes on Saturday and held them through the day in volatile Diyala province, where al Qaeda militants continue to roam despite a crackdown by Iraqi security forces, police said.

Police said the gunmen, who had arrived in a convoy of more than a dozen vehicles in the town of al-Gotin north of Baghdad, freed the hostages later on Saturday. None were hurt.

Diyala, an ethnically and religiously mixed province in a fertile river valley, has remained one of the most violent parts of Iraq even as attacks drop sharply across the country.

In separate incidents, two bombs exploded in different parts of the provincial capital Baquba on Saturday, killing a civilian and wounding two rubbish collectors.

U.S.-backed Iraqi forces launched a major security operation last month on Sunni Arab al Qaeda militants believed to be hiding out there.

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