The Washington Post reported today, "Parliament extended Iraq's state of emergency Monday as gunmen snatched 14 employees from computer stores in downtown Baghdad in the second mass kidnapping in as many days.
Seven cars pulled up to the shops in front of Baghdad's Technical University, and gunmen wearing military-style uniforms fanned out to surround the buildings, police Lt. Thair Mahmoud said. The attackers then forced the employees outside and into sport utility vehicles at gunpoint, he said."
When my husband heard this news, he called his cousin and neighbor to make sure that our neighbors in Baghdad were okay. His worst fears were confirmed. Two brothers who live right across from us in Baghdad, and who work in a computer store in front of Baghdad's Technical University (an area called Sina'a), were kidnapped today from their store. News sources confirm that all of the 14 kidnapped were Sunnis. Ironically, 'A' and 'A' are the sons of a Sunni Arab father and a Shiite Turkomen mother. They are the latest victims in this sectarian war engulfing Baghdad.
A2, the younger brother was married a year and a half ago in April 2005. After a year of marriage, he and his wife were finally expecting their first child. Today, his seven month pregnant wife, Bushra, herself a Shiite, anxiously awaits news of her husband's fate.
A1, the older brother (around 26 years old) is a sweet, slight man, with a shy demeanor and a smiling face. He married his young 18 year old wife a few months ago, a short while before I left Baghdad. I remember watching the simple celebration his family held for him (and his brother a year before him) in front of their house, from the window of my bedroom. A simple wedding celebration with a few firecrackers to announce their happiness to the neighbors. Now, his also pregnant wife awaits news of her husband's safety, or her widowhood.
My heart goes out to the young men's kind father and their good mother, to their young wives and sister, to their extended families, and to the Iraqi people for what their country has descended into.