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ANBAR, (Iraq): Two Kuwaitis were kidnapped while on a hunting trip in a desert area in Iraq on Sunday, two security officials said on Monday, adding that security forces have launched a wide-scale search for the two.

A police colonel confirmed the kidnapping, which occurred in a desert area between Anbar and Salahuddin provinces.

Iraqi security officials said an initial investigation showed that one of the hunters’ vehicles was attacked by gunmen and contact had been lost with the two Kuwaitis.

The sprawling desert region is known to be a hiding place for IS militant groups which are still active, said the two security sources.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the incident. Hunters from wealthy Gulf states often make trips to Iraq’s southern and western desert in search for hawks. “The Kuwaiti hunters were moving in a sprawling desert area which is very dangerous because Daesh (IS) is still active there. We need to know first if they are still alive,” one police officer told Reuters.

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