Escalating sectarian strife and violence tearing through Iraq cast on Wednesday dark shadow over the country's already troubled political process.
Unknown gunmen stormed an Iraqi security company and kidnapped 50 employees in a two-hour operation on Wednesday before police learned what had happened.
"Gunmen wearing police commando uniforms in more than seven vehicles attacked the Rawafid security company in Zaiyouna neighborhood at about 4:00 p.m. (1300 GMT) and kidnapped 50 of its employees," Captain Ahmed Abdulla told Xinhua.
The attackers also robbed all the money from the company, which provides bodyguards for companies and VIPs in Baghdad.
It was not immediately known who stormed the company in broad daylight.
In another gruesome incident, 18 bodies were found in a parking lot in Baghdad, apparently fresh victims of sectarian reprisal attacks in the aftermath of the Feb. 22 bombing of a major Shiite mosque in Samarra, a city 120 km north of Baghdad.
All of them had been strangled to death and were dumped in a KIA minibus near the Salahudin Intersection in the Ameriyah district, said a police source.
In a separate incident, two policemen were killed and eight people wounded, including two policemen, when a roadside bomb went off near a police patrol in central Baghdad.
Another three policemen were wounded when a roadside bomb blew up near a police patrol near the University of Technology in eastern Baghdad.
The latest surge of violence has noticeably side-effected the ongoing political process marred by partisan feud.
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said it was possible to postpone the first session of the county's new parliament, which he previously called to be held on Sunday, March 12.
"I am holding talks with heads of the parliament blocs to hold the first parliament session on the schedule date, but if they have another thing to say, I respect their thoughts," the Kurdish president said on Tuesday.
According to Iraqi constitution, the new parliament must hold its first meeting within four weeks after the election results were certified on Feb. 12, which made March 12 a constitutional deadline.
Parties in the United Iraqi Alliance, an umbrella Shiite bloc which dominates the new parliament, asked Talabani for a few days delay until they agree on who should lead the next government acceptable to other parties.
Political parties in Iraq have been wrangling over nomination of incumbent Ibrahim al-Jaafari as Sunni, Kurdish and some secular politicians united against Jaafari's nomination, faulting him for failing to bring security or prosperity to the country.