Iraq searching for three US citizens reportedly abducted

By REUTERS
January 19, 2016 02:06
1 minute read.

 
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Security forces in Baghdad were hunting for three US citizens who Iraqi lawmakers said on Monday had been kidnapped, which, if confirmed, would make them the first Americans abducted in the country since US troops withdrew in 2011.

Unknown gunmen seized the trio from a private apartment on Friday in the capital's southeastern Dora district, said Mohammed al-Karbouli, who sits on parliament's security and defence panel. It was not immediately clear if their motives were political or criminal.

Iskandar Witwit, deputy head of the same panel, gave a similar account citing senior security officials who said the civilians had been taken from the district's Sihha residential complex. Two of the three also had Iraqi citizenship, he said.

Iranian-backed Shi'ite Muslim militia fighters, seen as a bulwark in the fight against Islamic State militants, have a heavy presence in that part of the predominately Sunni district.

The three men work for a small company that is doing maintenance work for the information technology division of General Dynamics Corp, under a larger contract with the US Army, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The names of two of the men, which were first published by Fox News and other media outlets, are Wael al-Mahdawy (whose name is also spelled, Wael al-Mahdawi) and Amro Mohammed, according to the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The spelling of the first man's name was not consistent in information provided by authorities, said the source.

The name of the third man was not immediately available.

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