Three Americans Kidnapped in Baghdad

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Three Americans have been kidnapped in Baghdad.  The kidnappings have been confirmed by the U.S. embassy in Iraq, who said they are “working in full cooperation with Iraqi authorities to locate the missing Americans.”

The Americans were kidnapped in the southern neighborhood of Dora on January 17. The three were working with an interpreter, who was kidnapped as well. A number of news outlets reported that the Americans are contractors.

Speaking to the Daily Mail Online, State Department spokesperson John Kirby said, “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.”

Kirby was not at liberty to disclose any more details.

After speaking to a police colonel in Baghdad, the Washington Post reported three — two men a a woman — were working at the Baghdad International Airport. The Post also reported that the three were kidnapped by Shiite militiamen who raided the second-floor apartment.

According to a police major general as well as a neighbor, the apartment was being used as a brothel. Raids on brothels in the neighborhood have occurred previously and the men are merely told to leave.

The area is said to under control of Shiite militias.

The kidnappings came after the security situation in Bagdad saw a severe deterioration last week after a number of months of improvement.

Elsewhere, the Justice Department announced that two men have been arrested in Virginia in connection with attempting to join the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) in Syria. The men were named as Joseph Hassan Farrokh, 28, and Mahmoud Amin Mohamed Elhassan, 25, both of Woodbridge, Virginia.

Farrokh, a U.S. citizen, was attempting to board a flight to Chicago from where he planned to fly to Aman, Jordan. According to officials, he then planned to cross into Syria. Elhassan, a permanent resident of the U.S. from Sudan, drove Farrokh to the airport. Officials say Elhassan was aware of Farrokh’s plans and had helped facilitate them.

According to the Justice Department, Farrokh had been trying to leave the U.S. and join the Islamic State since Nov. 20, 2015.

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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org