Ireland announced Thursday it will send a diplomatic mission to Baghdad in the hope of winning freedom for Rory Carroll, a Dublin-born journalist who was abducted by gunmen.
The five-person team will be led by Ireland's ambassador to Finland, Antoin MacUnfraidh, a fluent Arabic speaker who served as Ireland's ambassador to Iraq before the first Gulf War in 1991. Also traveling Friday will be two Irish army officers, a high-ranking police officer and another Department of Foreign Affairs official.
"This is as high-powered a team as we can send out. We are determined to do everything we can to secure Rory's release. It's intended to emphasize, again, that Rory Carroll is an Irish citizen," said Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern.
Carroll, 33, an experienced foreign correspondent for The Guardian newspaper of Britain, had been reporting from Baghdad since January. Gunmen abducted him Wednesday as he left an interview in a Shiite Muslim section of the Iraqi capital. Since then, no group has claimed responsibility or issued any demands.