MANAMA (Sputnik) — Earlier in December, a group of armed individuals dressed in military uniforms kidnapped at least 16 Qataris, who were hunting with falcons in the Iraqi southeastern Najaf Desert. Regional Governor Falih Zayady said that at least 26 Qatari hunters had been kidnapped. A source in the Iraqi police told Sputnik that a number of Qatar’s ruling family members were among the abducted.
"The Iraqi government ought to assume its responsibility and take the necessary crucial procedures for the safe release of the abductees and their return unharmed to the brotherly State of Qatar."
According to the statement, Bahrain is monitoring the situations with hostages closely, as it "represents a dangerous and unacceptable first that may negatively impact bilateral relations between the two brotherly countries unless the brothers join their efforts to ensure the immediate and safe release of the abductees as well as non-occurrence of such dangerous acts in the future."
During the rule of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, such hunting trips were organized with the support of the local security services. After his overthrow, the number of trips to Iraq by Qatari hunters has decreased due to security concerns.