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U.S. Citizen Kidnapped in Basra

U.S. Citizen Kidnapped in Basra

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BASRA, Iraq (AP) -- A U.S. businessman was abducted from his hotel in the southern city of Basra by kidnappers disguised as policemen, the Basra police chief said Friday.

Col. Khalaf al-Maleki said the abduction of the American, who was of Jordanian origin, took place Thursday night. He had no further details.

Including the Basra abduction, at least 21 foreigners have been abducted over the past week in a wave of kidnappings. The abductions have coincided with intense violence around the country and most are believed to have been carried out by anti-U.S. insurgents, apparently for political reasons.

It was not immediately clear if the businessman's abduction was by insurgents or by criminals seeking ransom. For months, there have been many kidnappings of Iraqi citizens, especially wealthy ones, for extortion purposes.

The vast majority of the abducted foreigners were snatched on roads west and south of Baghdad, where gunmen have run rampant the past week, attacking convoys and battling U.S. troops.

At least two hostages, two Arab aid workers, are believed to have been taken by anti-U.S. gunmen in south-central Iraq.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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