At least 27 Qatari hunters – including members of the ruling family – have been kidnapped by gunmen in a desert area of Iraq near the Saudi border, say police and the local governor.
The attackers were driving dozens of four-wheel drive vehicles when they swept into the hunters’ camp at dawn on December 16, officials said.
They struck near Layyah, 118 miles from regional capital, Samawa.
A wide-scale search has been launched for the attackers, police say.
The Qatari foreign ministry released a statement saying it was working with the Iraqi government “at the highest security and political levels… to find out the details of the Qatari citizens’ abduction and work on their release as soon as possible”.
The statement said they had been hunting with official Iraqi permission – though Iraq’s interior ministry accused the hunters of failing to abide by its instructions to remain inside secured areas.
The aim of the abduction was “to achieve political and media goals”, the interior ministry said.
The remote area where the incident took place is highly tribal in nature and a Shia region.
The Shia political parties which dominate the Iraqi government are highly critical of Qatar’s role in supporting Sunni rebels in Syria – so this is bound to be a serious diplomatic incident, he says.
Two Iraqi officers providing security for the party were also taken by the gunmen but later released, officials said.
No details were provided on which members of the Qatari royal family were among those held.
Wealthy practitioners of the ancient sport of falconry from various Gulf states often travel to the area at this time of year.
The hunters had been escorted by Iraqi security forces but they decided not to engage a large number of gunmen, a police colonel from Samawa – the capital of Muthanna governorate – told Reuters.
“We are talking about at least 100 gunmen armed with light and medium weapons,” he said.
More than 12 years after the US-led invasion and occupation, Iraq is still plagued by violent crime and militant attacks.
Walter Palmer, who generated an outcry after killing Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe, has returned to his dental practice in Minnesota after weeks in hiding.
The dentist arrived at work at 07:00 local time where a throng of media and a few protesters awaited him.
Employees were seen escorting Walter Palmer and patients into the surgery, as photographers swarmed the office.
In recent interviews, Walter Palmer has claimed that the hunt was legal and that he was shocked to hear the animal was famous.
Police were present as Walter Palmer parked his vehicle on a nearby street and walked into his office in Bloomington, Minnesota. A staff member clutched his arm as the pair pushed past a group of journalists.
One woman could be heard screaming “Extradite Palmer!”
Walter Palmer, 55, did not speak to the media on September 8, but did give an interview to the Minneapolis Star Tribune on September 6.
“I need to get back to treating my patients,” Walter Palmer said.
“My staff and my patients support me, and they want me back. That’s why I’m back.”
The killing of Cecil in July prompted a global uproar, which Walter Palmer has claimed led to “some safety issues” for his family.
Walter Palmer’s clinic and his home in nearby Eden Prairie became the site of protests, and his holiday home in Florida was vandalized.
Police did not consider the protesters.
Walter Palmer is believed to have been paid $50,000 to hunt a lion in Zimbabwe’s largest game reserve, but he says he was unaware it was so famous.
“If I had known this lion had a name and was important to the country or a study obviously I wouldn’t have taken it,” he said.
“Nobody in our hunting party knew before or after the name of this lion.”
Cecil was well known in the Hwange National Park and was being tracked with a GPS collar as part of a research program run by Oxford University.
The Zimbabwe’s safari organization has said the way in which Cecil was lured out of a national park was unethical and possibly illegal.
Initially, Zimbabwe sought to charge and extradite Walter Palmer, but the government’s interest in him has waned in recent weeks.
The Associated Press reported that government officials fear it could hamper a hunting industry that is lucrative and important for Zimbabwe.
Prince William and his ex-girlfriend Jessica “Jecca” Craig reunited during a hunting trip in Spain taken last weekend with a group of pals.
According to Us Weekly, while Prince William went on hunting trip, Kate Middleton and their son Prince George stayed home in London.
Jecca Craig and Prince William were photographed on February 6, joking and chatting animatedly together along with a bunch of pals, including Prince Harry, arriving at the Seville airport.
Jecca Craig attended the royal wedding back in 2011 with boyfriend Captain Philip Kaye
Prince William led the pack of hunters with Jessica Craig, who looked casual in jeans, chucks and a green utility jacket. The troupe then took a helicopter to the countryside property of the Duke of Westminster to “shoot wild boar and stag”, the insider told Us Weekly.
Jecca Craig and Prince William were linked during his years at Eton, when the two were teens, and remained good friends in the years following. She even attended the royal wedding back in 2011 with boyfriend Captain Philip Kaye.
Prince William’s recent hunting trip has enraged animal rights advocates.
Duck Dynasty family has launched their own line of guns in collaboration with gunmaker Mossberg.
Mossberg has teamed with Duck Commander, the company owned by Duck Dynasty family, to release nine different shotguns, as well as two semiautomatic rifles and a semiautomatic pistol.
The gunmaker has begun shipping some of the shotguns to distributors, according to spokeswoman Linda Powell. She declined to name specific retailers that will carry them.
Phil Robertson founded Duck Commander 40 years ago.
The Duck Dynasty patriarch was recently suspended – and then reinstated – by A&E network after making controversial remarks about gay people and African-Americans during GQ magazine interview.
Phil Robertson and his sons are featured prominently in four video ads for the new guns on Mossberg website. He narrates one of the spots saying: “Do you know what makes me happy ladies and gentlemen? To blow a mallard drake’s head smooth off.”
Duck Dynasty family has launched their own line of guns in collaboration with gunmaker Mossberg
The Robertson family business in Louisiana sells duck calls as well as hunting DVDs and clothing through Wal-Mart and other retailers. Duck Dynasty brand has already been affixed to everything from action figures and door mats to wine, (produced by the Trinchero Family Estates) as well as books about cooking and religion.
Mossberg says the Duck Commander guns will come in a “waterfowl pattern” camouflage design, though not all of them are intended for duck hunting. They also bear the Duck Commander logo, of a duck in flight.
The pistol and one of the rifles have military-style designs with large capacity magazines holding at least 25 rounds. The rifle has some of the features of an assault rifle, but with a relatively low .22 caliber.
Mossberg’s website says its .22-caliber pistol is “perfect for small game, plinking, target shooting – or clearing cottonmouths out of your duck blind.”
The firearms will all come with an American flag bandana like the one worn by Willie Robertson.
Though not originally from a hunting family, Korie Robertson fit in with the Duck Dynasty’s family right away.
Korie Robertson, née Howard, was born on October 24, 1973 and is Willie’s wife and business partner. She also graduated from Harding University. She is the office manager of Duck Commander.
Duck Dynasty’s Korie Robertson is Willie’s wife and business partner
As Willie Robertson’s wife and business partner, she helped him grow the company into an ever-expanding enterprise. As the Duck Commander office manager Korie Robertson has to make her presence known in order to keep the workshop from turning into a funhouse. She met Willie Robertson in third grade and when he asked her to go on a moonlit hike at summer camp. He was 4th grade.
Korie and Willie Robertson got married on January 11, 1992, a year after high school, when she was 18 and he was 19.
Korie and Willie Robertson have five children: John Luke, Sadie, an adopted son named Will (called “Lil Will” on the show), Bella and Rebecca (formerly an exchange student from Taiwan now their adopted daughter).
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