Two Philippine women have been abducted by unidentified gunmen in Iraq, according to security sources.
The incident took place on Saturday when their car broke down on a road linking the capital, Baghdad, to Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s Kurdish region.
“Two gunmen forced the two girls out of the car at gunpoint and took them to an unidentified location,” police captain Hamed al-Obeidi told Anadolu Agency.
No group has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping. The identities, affiliation and motivation of the kidnappers were not immediately known.
Security sources told Al Jazeera that the driver of the car, an Iraqi national, was detained and placed under investigation after he filed a report at a police station in Diyala province.
Military and security sources said there is usually a strong security presence in the area of the kidnapping.
There has been an uptick in attacks and kidnappings by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) fighters and criminal gangs over the past few weeks near the area from which the women were taken.
At least eight members of the security forces were kidnapped and later killed by ISIL fighters on that same highway last month.