US confirms Americans were abducted in Baghdad

Embassy, State Department reveal efforts to locate missing civilians, with Iraqi official saying they were kidnapped at interpreter's home.

Ari Yashar,

US Secretary of State John Kerry
US Secretary of State John Kerry
Reuters

The American embassy in Baghdad confirmed late on Sunday that "several" Americans have gone missing in the country, shortly after local media reported three Americans were abducted in the capital city.

US Embassy spokesman Scott Bolz said, “we are working in full cooperation with Iraqi authorities to locate the missing Americans," although he did not identify the Americans or say why they were in the country, reports Associated Press on Monday.

US State Department spokesperson John Kirby said that "due to privacy considerations" he would not give any details, saying, "the safety and security of Americans abroad is our highest priority."

"We are aware of reports that American citizens are missing in Iraq. We are working with the full cooperation of the Iraqi authorities to locate and recover the individuals," said Kirby.

The confirmation came after Al-Arabiya reported the three were kidnapped by local militias in Baghdad. Iraqi media reported the three were abducted in the south of the city on their way to Baghdad International Airport.

A Western security official said Sunday on condition of anonymity that he was told the three Americans disappeared 24 to 48 hours prior.

Meanwhile an Iraqi government intelligence official provided additional details, saying the Americans were abducted from their interpreter's home in Baghdad. He said they had been invited to the interpreter's home in the southern Baghdad neighborhood of Dora.

They were then taken to Sadr city, according to the official, but "all communications and contact stopped in Sadr city."

Colonel Steve Warren, spokesman for the US-led international coalition against Islamic State (ISIS), confirmed the Americans are civilians and not soldiers.

No jihadist group has yet claimed responsibility for the abduction.




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