Shiite volunteers in the Iraqi desert
[Representational pic] Shiite volunteers in the Iraqi desertReuters

Hundreds of gunmen reportedly stormed a hunting party in a desert area of Iraq near the border of Saudi Arabia and kidnapped 26 Qatari nationals - including members of Qatar royal family, reports said on Wednesday.

The heavily armed group was driving "about 50" four-wheel drive vehicles when the attack on the camp took place in the early hours of Wednesday, BBC reported.

An Iraqi police personnel told The Telegraph there were "at least 100 gunmen armed with light and medium weapons" who abducted the hunters at around 3 am local time on Wednesday.

The Qatari nationals were kidnapped in Layyah, 190km from regional capital, Samawa -- which is a strong Shia-belt that is highly critical of Qatar's involvement in arming the Sunni rebels in Syria, according to BBC.

The development comes just days after Qatar announced its plan to join the new "Islamic and military" anti-terrorism coalition led by Saudi Arabia to fight Islamic State (Isis) terrorists who control large swathes of land in Iraq and Syria.

Qatar in a statement said that it was working on securing the release of its nationals, Channel News Asia reported. 

The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) had reported that 34 Muslim countries have joined the new coalition, including  the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey, Malaysia and Pakistan, to fight Isis terrorism.

Quick Links