Sunday, January 17, 2016

Three Americans Kidnapped in Baghdad – Reports
17 Jan, 2016 20:18

Three American soldiers and a translator have reportedly been kidnapped by militia in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.

While their identities have not yet been confirmed, Iraqi independent news agency Akad News said a US serviceman and a translator are among those who were captured in the south of Baghdad.

The American Embassy in Baghdad confirmed that “several” US-citizens are missing. “We are working in full cooperation with Iraqi authorities to locate the missing Americans,” US Embassy spokesman Scott Bolz said.

The media reports are yet to be verified, but Arab news channel Al-Arabiya said the kidnapping has been confirmed by “well-informed sources.”

The US embassy in the Iraqi capital said it is aware of the reports but cannot comment as of yet.

US State Department spokesman John Kirby said that the US government has been informed of the reports of missing American citizens in Iraq and is “working with the full cooperation of the Iraqi authorities to locate and recover the individuals.”

“The safety and security of American citizens overseas is our highest priority,” Kirby added in his statement.

According to CNN correspondent Michael Holmes, citing a senior security official, three American contractors went missing in the Iraqi capital two days ago.

With the Muslim world split along sectarian lines, the atmosphere in the region has become tenser since the execution of a prominent Shia cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, by Sunni Saudi Arabia. Massive rallies have been staged by thousands of protesters in front of the Saudi embassy in Baghdad. The militias of southern Iraq are predominantly Shia.

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