World News

Blair: kidnappings must not deter Britain in Iraq

FREETOWN (Reuters) - The kidnapping of five Britons in Baghdad should not be allowed to undermine Britain’s commitment to trying to bring peace and security to Iraq, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said on Wednesday.

“We know the dangers and challenges there (in Iraq) but we shouldn’t let those that are prepared to use kidnapping and terror succeed,” Blair, who is on visit to Sierra Leone, said about Tuesday’s kidnappings.

He did not elaborate further, after being asked at a news conference in Freetown whether the taking of the hostages undermined assertions that the security situation in Iraq might be improving.

The five Britons were kidnapped when dozens of gunmen, who were dressed in police commando uniforms and driving official vehicles, stormed into the Finance Ministry in Baghdad.

British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said earlier on Wednesday that British officials were working with Iraqi authorities to find out how the five were abducted from a government building and to secure their swift release.