By Worthy News Staff
"The gang kidnapped the doctor, Mahasin Bashir, in her home late at night as her children watched, and then they put her into a car," police said in published comments.
Police said the abduction happened in the predominantly Christian town of Bartala, around 20 kilometres (12 miles) from Mosul in northern Iraq's Nineveh province, one of the country's most violent areas.
The motives behind the kidnapping were not immediately clear.
Bashir worked in a hospital in a nearby Christian town, Hamdania, as a gynaecologist. Her husband, who is also a doctor, was not at home at the time of the kidnapping, reported French News Agency AFP.
Bashir was the second Christian doctor known to have been abducted in Iraq this month.
On September 16 Islamic kidnappers in thew town of Kirkuk dumped Christian doctor Sameer Gorgees Youssif in critical condition in front of a mosque after 29 days of “torture and threats” to him and his family, Christians said.
His 23-year-old daughter, who did not want to be identified, told Christian news agencies that the abductors insisted on $500,000 ransom, and eventually dropped the amount to $100,000.
“They were threatening us all the time, and we were living in hell. We just stayed and prayed and fasted and closed the doors and locked them. We were afraid that maybe they would come here and kill all of us. God was our only hope," she reportedly said.
It comes as Iraq's human rights ministry estimates that about half of Mosul's Christian community -- some 2,275 families -- abandoned their homes and jobs in October to take shelter in Christian villages.
Since the U.Ss-led invasion of 2003, hundreds of Iraqi Christians have been killed and a string of churches attacked, according to church groups and officials.
Some 800,000 Christians lived in Iraq at the time of the invasion, but their number has since shrunk by around a third or more as members of the minority community have fled the country, Christian leaders said.
The latest kidnapping came amid violence across Mosul and other parts of Iraq.
Gunmen killed an off-duty policeman on Saturday, September 26, in a parking lot in central Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said. A roadside bomb targeting a police patrol also wounded two policemen on Saturday in northern Mosul, Reuters news agency quoted police as saying.
In Ramadi a suicide car bomber killed three policemen and wounded eight when he detonated himself outside a police station near that town, 100 km (60 miles) west of Baghdad, this weekend, local police colonel Ahmed Abood told reporters. (With editing by Worthy News' Stefan J. Bos).