Last updated: 18 January, 2016

Three Americans ‘abducted from Baghdad apartment’

Three American nationals missing in Iraq were kidnapped from a “suspicious apartment” in Baghdad, a spokesman for the security command responsible for the capital said on Monday.

“Three people carrying American nationality were kidnapped while they were in Dura… inside a suspicious apartment,” the spokesman said in a statement.

“Security forces have begun searching for them,” the spokesman said.

A police colonel said on condition of anonymity that an Iraqi translator took the Americans for “drinking and women” at an apartment in the Dura area.

Militiamen “attacked the place”, the colonel said, and “they were kidnapped from inside the apartment, not from the street.”

The colonel and Iraq’s parliament speaker have said the kidnappings took place on Sunday, but other reports indicated the Americans were abducted at an earlier date.

The abducted Americans were apparently taken to another area, the colonel said, as Dura was searched and they were not found.

Brothels and alcohol shops have been repeatedly targeted by powerful Shiite militia groups that are playing a major role in combating the Islamic State jihadist group, which overran large parts of Iraq last year.

Kidnappers have recently seized Qataris and Turks, but it has been years since Americans were abducted.

Iraqis have suffered the most from kidnappers seeking ransoms or to settle scores since the 2003 US-led invasion which toppled president Saddam Hussein.