This happened BEFORE team Obama released 7 Iranian criminals and dropped charges against 14 other Iranians in exchange for five Americans, but not the longest held American prisoner in Iran.
BAGHDAD – The U.S. Embassy confirmed Sunday that “several” Americans have gone missing in Iraq, after local media reported that three Americans had been kidnapped in the Iraqi capital.
U.S. Embassy spokesman Scott Bolz said, “We are working in full cooperation with Iraqi authorities to locate the missing Americans.”
Last week the U.S. embassy received threat information that an Iranian-backed militia group wanted to grab an American or an American contractor, according to a State Department source.
Officials had hoped the Iranian government would have told the militia group to hold off because of all the negotiations surrounding the prisoner swap that saw the release of four Americans. The State Department source fears one of the groups might have “gone off the reservation.”
Bolz did not identify the missing Americans or say what they were doing in Iraq.
State Department spokesman John Kirby said that “due to privacy considerations” he had nothing further to add about the missing Americans. “The safety and security of Americans abroad is our highest priority,” Kirby said.
The comments by U.S. officials came after the Arab news channel, al-Arabiya, citing its own sources, reported that three Americans had been kidnapped by militias in Baghdad.
Iraqi media reports said the Americans went missing in south Baghdad on their way to Baghdad International Airport. A Western security official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media, said Sunday that he had been told that three Americans went missing 24 to 48 hours ago.
There were no immediate claims of responsibility. Kidnappings in Iraq have been carried out by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Shiite militias as well as criminal gangs demanding ransom payments or disgruntled employees seeking to resolve workplace disputes.
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