UK & World News

  • 7 June 2014, 11:33

Dozens Of Iraqi Students Taken Hostage

Militants stormed a university campus in Iraq and took dozens of students hostage.

They infiltrated the site by killing three guards and then blew up a bridge leading to the main gate, police said.

Security personnel, including special forces, launched an assault to take back the university after cordoning off the campus.

Later the militants left as gunfire erupted between them and security forces, and the students boarded buses to leave.

Gunmen from the al Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group had detained the students inside a dormitory, according to officials.

The attack took place at Anbar University near Ramadi, which is west of the capital Baghdad.

Student Ahmed al Mehamdi, who was taken hostage, said he was woken by the sound of gunfire, looked out the window and saw armed men dressed in black running across the campus.

Minutes later, the gunmen entered the dormitory and ordered everybody to stay in their rooms.

Speaking on the phone from inside the building, Mr al Mehamdihad said: "The gunmen took some students to other university buildings.

"For the rest of us, we are still trapped in our rooms and everybody is in panic, especially the Shia students."

Parts of Anbar province, including areas of Ramadi and Fallujah, have been held by ISIL and other Sunni-led militants for months amid fighting with security forces.

The university attack is the third major operation by militants in as many days.

It follows an assault on the city of Samarra on Thursday where rebels seized several areas and were only repelled by helicopter strikes.

At least 36 people were killed in heavy fighting and suicide bombings in the northern province of Nineveh on Friday.

The latest violence has been fuelled by Sunni anger at the Shia-led government in Baghdad, as well as the civil war in neighbouring Syria.

ISIL has carried out scores of deadly attacks on both sides of the border and imposed a brutal form of Islamic rule in territories under its control.

Advertisement