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9 Iraqi Workers Gunned Down Near Baghdad

Authorities in Iraq say nine people have been shot and killed in the northeast town of Baquba.

The victims were boarding a minibus on their way to work Wednesday morning when they were gunned down.

The attack comes as authorities are dealing with a new wave of kidnappings in Iraq. Four Western aid workers, including an American, a Briton and two Canadians, were abducted Saturday in Baghdad. The four were seen in a videotape broadcast Tuesday by Arab broadcaster Al-Jazeera. The video was made by an insurgent group calling itself the Swords of Righteousness Brigade.

Meanwhile, Germany has called for the release of a kidnapped national, archaeologist Susanne Osthoff, and her driver who disappeared Friday.

Officials believe the latest kidnappings are aimed at disrupting next month's national parliamentary elections.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.