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Video from Death Squads militant group shows Turkish workers kidnapped in Iraq

Published 11/09/2015

The 18 Turkish workers were kidnapped in Baghdad last week
The 18 Turkish workers were kidnapped in Baghdad last week

A video from a previously unknown militant group has surfaced on social media showing 18 Turkish workers abducted in Baghdad last week and threatening Ankara with the "most violent means".

The three-minute video shows the men seated in front of five militants in black masks with machine guns. Behind them is a blue wall emblazoned with the group's alleged name, Death Squads, in Arabic.

Next to the name are the words "Oh, Hussein" - a reference to a revered Shiite figure who was the Prophet Mohammed's grandson, suggesting the group is Shiite.

The group demands Turkey halt the flow of militants into Iraq, stop the passage of oil from Iraq's northern Kurdish region via Turkish territory and lift what is described as a "siege" on Syrian cities.

The 18 men, employed by Turkish construction company Nurol Insaat, were working on a sports complex in the Iraqi capital's sprawling Shiite district of Sadr City. Gunmen stormed the site on September 2 as the workers were sleeping in caravans, breaking down doors and disarming guards before taking the workers away.

The Turkish men appear tired as they identify themselves and give their home towns.

The militants criticise the "wrongful" foreign policies of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

One by one, the abducted men repeat the same sentence, asking Mr Erdogan to meet the kidnappers' demands so they can be released.

The brazen abduction earlier this month laid bare serious security gaps in heavily guarded Baghdad. Turkey has identified the men as 14 labourers, three engineers and one accountant.

Iraqi officials said earlier that an Iraqi national was kidnapped along with the Turks. Shortly after the abduction, Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi blamed organised crime for the kidnapping, but did not elaborate.

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