PZN: "...a very illustrative kind of event."
PAULA ZAHN: We have picked the kidnapping of dozens of people in Baghdad as our "Top Story" tonight. Right now, all of Baghdad's universities are shut down because of this attack. It happened at a research institute. Dozens of gunmen in police uniforms surrounded the building, rounded up as many as 100 people, and then drove off with them.
Just a couple of hours ago, we got word that most of the hostages have been freed.
Michael Ware in Baghdad has the very latest tonight on that violence.
So, Michael, what's the latest on these kidnappings?
MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Paula, it has been quite a remarkable day here in Baghdad.
I mean, what started this morning with a mass kidnapping here in the capital has ended just a few hours ago in the middle of the Baghdad night, with the Ministry of Interior saying most of the hostages who were taken earlier in the day have been released.
Now, this whole affair began at 10:00 a.m., Baghdad time, when, according to the Iraqi Minister for Higher Education, in a nationally televised address to parliament, said that as many as 80 gunmen in army or police uniforms surrounded and then entered a research institute, segregating men from women, locking the women in a room, and taking an unknown number of the men away in more than 20 vehicles.
Now, throughout the day, speculation continued as to who was behind this. And, also, the numbers of men who had been taken varied, according to government officials, as the day evolved. We heard as few as 40, as many as 150. What we have now heard from the Ministry of Interior is that most of those taken, these 40 to 150, have been released -- Paula.
ZAHN: And there is still strong suspicion at this hour that Shiite militias had something to do with these kidnappings -- the U.S. government putting tremendous pressure on the Iraqi government to clamp down on them. Will it make any difference at all?
WARE: Well, I mean, this could be a great test. I mean, this may be a very illustrative kind of event.
Once we know what happened behind the scenes, should we ever find out, it can tell us a lot about the relative power of the prime minister vs. these militias, most of which are buried within his government. This could have been a victory politically for the prime minister, or this may have been some other kind of negotiations sorted out behind closed doors.
So, at this stage, we don't know what impact it is going to have. Until we know who did it, until we can rule out Sunni insurgents, then, honestly, there's going to be more questions to be asked than there are answers.
ZAHN: And we will come back to you if we get any of that information nailed down.
Michael Ware, thanks so much for the update.