Police Say Kidnappings on Rise in Iraqi City

BAGHDAD- An Iraqi police commander says rival gangs seeking ransom money to fund terror attacks are behind the recent abductions of four people in a volatile northern city.

In the latest abduction, four gunmen seized a businessman as he was leaving his tile factory on Saturday in Kirkuk, 180 miles north of Baghdad.

Kirkuk police commander Brig. Gen. Sarhad Qadir also says shops near the factory were looted hours before the abduction.

He says at least three other people have been kidnapped in the city over the last 10 days and blamed rival gangs seeking ransom to carry out attacks.

Kirkuk is home to a combustible mix of Kurds, Sunni Arabs and Turkomen who all claim rights to the city and the oil-rich lands around it.