A Shia group has claimed responsibility for abducting 18 Turkish men from Baghdad.
A Shia group has claimed responsibility for abducting 18 Turkish men from BaghdadYouTube

In a new video, a Shiite militia group that identifies itself as "Death Squad" has claimed responsibility for the kidnap of 18 Turkish workers last week from Baghdad.

The video was released on 11 September and is mainly addressed to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. 

The three-minute video that is also available on YouTube shows five masked gunmen wearing black under a Shi'ite flag and the title reads "death squad". However, it is not clear the kidnappers belong to which group.

The video shows 18 of the kidnapped Turkish men wearing T-shirts and kneeling in front of the gunmen. The men state their names and the Turkish provinces they come from.

The video then features one of the kidnapped men addressing President Erdogan.

"We are foreign workers who have come here to earn our bread... We are now victims as a result of some foreign policies, some meaningless, inconsistent business," Reuters quoted the abducted man as saying.

Through out the video, the abductors--dressed in black and masks on their face--don't speak anything. However, on the screen, the group lists out a few demands asking Erdogan to stop giving safe passage to the Isis terrorists from Turkey to cross into Iraq.

Shia
The list of demands by the Shia group - known only as Death SquadYouTube

The group then asks the Kurds and the Turks to stop the flow of "stolen oil" from Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region. Finally, addressing an Al Qaeda-affiliated Sunni group--the Army of Conquest--it demands them to lift the siege of Kefraya and al-Foua, Shi'ite Muslim villages in northwest Syria.

The abductors, however, have not made any threat to the life of the kidnapped Turkish workers in the video.

The unidentified group, addressed only as the "death squad", says: "In case these demands are not met by Erdogan and his party, we will crush the Turkish interests and their agents in Iraq by the most violent means."

Nurol Holding, the Turkish company which employs the kidnapped men, confirmed the identity of the men featured in the new video.

The Iraqi security forces suspect the kidnapping were carried out by Kataib Hezbollah, a powerful Iranian-backed Shi'ite militia. Last Friday, the Iraqi forces had even raided the headquarters of Kataib Hezbollah, but it did not yield any results, Reuters reported.

On social media, several users pointed out there were discrepancies in the Shiite flag seen in the video and argued that it was possible that the whole incident was an attempt by a Sunni Wahabi group to malign Shias in Iraq.

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