Iranian-backed militias who aren’t pleased with the prisoner swap have kidnapped three Americans in Baghdad. This is just more of the same with Iran and all the hardliners who’re nothing but bullies.
The US embassy in Baghdad has confirmed that “several” Americans have been kidnapped there.
“We are working with the full co-operation of the Iraqi authorities to locate and recover the individuals,” said a state department official.
“A company filed a report Sunday about three of its staff going missing two days ago. They are American contractors. We are looking into this report,” the senior security official said.
“The safety and security of American citizens overseas is our highest priority,” said US state department official John Kirby.
If it turns out to be a serious kidnapping, reports the BBC’s Jim Muir in Baghdad, it would be a major blow to hopes for stability and progress in Iraq.
Both Sunni and Shiite militants are present in the Iraqi capital, but Shiite militias operate as powerful auxiliary forces. Many of those militias are backed by Iran.
Some analysts who closely follow Iran and its regional proxies suggested Sunday that the abduction of American citizens in Baghdad may have been a projection of Iranian power, in particular by hardliners who opposed the prisoner deal with the United States over the weekend. Iran released four dual Iranian-American citizens who were being held in Iranian prisons; the United States offered clemency to seven Iranians charged or imprisoned for sanctions violations. American authorities also dismissed charges against 14 Iranians outside the United States.
An attack on a Baghdad shopping centre last week, claimed by so-called Islamic State militants, brought to an end a relative lull in violence that had seen no major bloodshed in the city in months.
Before US forces pulled out of Iraq in 2011, a number of Western citizens were kidnapped and killed by radical Shia groups as well as Sunni militants, but none has been abducted since then, our correspondent says.