Sunni politician seized in Iraq released by gunmen

Falah al-Qaisi, directly at microphones, and other Baghdad Provincial Council members, speak to the media in Baghdad, Saturday, July 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)

BAGHDAD (AP) — Gunmen in Iraq seized and later released a prominent Sunni politician, officials said Saturday, as confusion remained over who abducted the lawmaker.

Riyadh al-Adhadah, head of the Baghdad Provincial Council, returned to his home a day after gunmen abducted him and four of his bodyguards, said Ghalib al-Zamili, a member of the council. The bodyguards also were released, according to a police officer who declined to be named because he is not authorized to brief journalists.

It was not immediately clear if al-Adhdah was arrested by security forces or abducted. In 2012 al-Adhdah, a medical doctor and member of the Iraqi Islamic Party, was imprisoned for eight months on terrorism charges. He has maintained his innocence.

The incident comes at a time of mounting sectarian tensions, with Sunni militants having seized vast swaths of northern and western Iraq and Shiite militias mobilized to help the beleaguered armed forces fight back. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, is looking to secure a third four-year term despite widespread calls to step aside over the crisis…

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