Monday, 18 January 2016

Iraq: U.S. embassy confirms several Americans kidnapped in Baghdad

The U.S. embassy in Iraq has confirmed that several Americans have been kidnapped from the capital city of Baghdad.

Officials at the embassy said they were 'working in full cooperation with Iraqi authorities to locate the missing Americans', though gave no further details.

The confirmation comes after Arab news channel Al-Arabiya reported that three contractors had been kidnapped by local militia. 

According to the station, sources in the Iraqi capital city told reporters that the trio were abducted in the southern neighborhood of Dora on Sunday.

They were believed to have been with an interpreter, who has also been captured, reports suggest. 
Their identities and the reason they are in Iraq is not known. 
John Kirby, State Department told Daily Mail Online: 'We are aware of reports that American citizens are missing in Iraq. 

'The safety and security of American citizens overseas is our highest priority.‎ We are working with the full cooperation of the Iraqi authorities to locate and recover the individuals.'

He added that he could not offer anymore information because of privacy concerns. 
Multiple reports say they are contractors. 

The incident comes after a week that has seen a deterioration of security in and around the Iraqi capital after months of relative calm. 

It also comes a day after four American citizens were freed from Iran in a prisoner swap.
Last Monday, at least 18 people were killed and 40 others were injured when insurgents attacked a shopping mall in Baghdad.

Dora was one of the battlegrounds during the Iraq War. In 2007 it was deemed a hotbed of sectarian violence, especially by Islamic anti-Christians.

By 2010 Dora had become a predominantly Sunni neighbourhood with Assyrians being reduced to small enclaves. Attacks in recent years have forced more and more families to leave the area.

There has been increasing tensions in Iraq, especially from Shia Muslims, after Saudi Arabia executed top Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr.

Source: mail online and Al -Arabiya