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Why are kidnappings on the rise in Baghdad?

As the Islamic State is being forced out of Iraq, abductions, robberies and other crimes are on the rise as a result of the proliferation of militias.
Protesters hold protraits of Iraqi female journalist Afrah Shawqi during a demonstration calling for her release on December 30, 2016, in Baghdad.
Shawqi, 43, who is employed by Asharq al-Awsat, a London-based pan-Arab newspaper, was abducted on December 26, 2016, from her home in a southern neighbourhood of the Iraqi capital. / AFP / SABAH ARAR        (Photo credit should read SABAH ARAR/AFP/Getty Images)
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BAGHDAD — Officials in Baghdad agree crime is on the rise there, though they differ on the causes and offer little in the way of hard statistics to back up their claims.

Baghdad’s criminal court announced Jan. 17 that many areas in the capital have witnessed a significant increase in cases of kidnapping, theft, pickpocketing and robberies recently, stressing that organized gangs are behind some of these crimes. Examining Magistrate Alaa Abdullah said, “Palestine Street, in the center of Baghdad, came first in terms of registered crimes at the court during the current year, with more than 31 reported cases.”

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