Skip to main content
Iraq Transition

Egypt ambassador to Iraq kidnapped, source says


• Interactive: Who's who in Iraq
• Interactive: Sectarian divide


United States

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Egypt's ambassador to Iraq has been kidnapped in Baghdad, according to a source in the Egyptian Embassy there.

The source said Ihab al-Sherif was abducted near his home on Saturday.

The Egyptian Embassy was sealed off by security forces.

The ambassador had just arrived in Iraq in June and was the first to represent an Arab country since the ouster of Saddam Hussein

Al-Sherif had not yet formally presented his credentials to Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.

Last July, the Lions of God Brigades in Iraq abducted Momdoh Kotb, Egypt's third-highest ranking diplomat in the country, but released him after less than a week.

High-level sources in Baghdad told CNN that the Egyptians had paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in ransom to win his release, something Egyptian officials in Cairo and Washington vehemently denied.

U.S. and Iraqi officials strongly discourage paying ransom -- or acquiescing to kidnappers' demands in any way -- for fear it will inspire insurgents to use the tactic more frequently.

Meanwhile, U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales arrived in Baghdad Sunday on a surprise visit, officials at the U.S. Embassy confirmed.

The officials said Gonzales would meet with staff members of the Department of Justice in Iraq and other U.S. officials. (Full story)

Bombing attacks

A car bomb exploded Sunday in Kirkuk, killing three Iraqi police officers and wounding an Iraqi soldier.

The Iraqis were investigating reports of a car loaded with explosives when the bomb was set off by remote control, according to Maj. Gen. Anwar Mohammed Amin of the Iraqi Army of Kirkuk.

On Saturday, a string of suicide bombing attacks across Iraq targeted Iraqi police, leaving more than 20 people dead and dozens wounded.

In Hila, two suicide bombers killed nine people, including five policemen, and wounded 36 others inside and outside a cafeteria frequented by Iraqi police, police said.

One suicide bomber detonated inside the cafeteria, and another blew himself up outside, a police spokesman said.

Of the wounded, 20 were police officers. Four women and six children were also hurt, the police spokesman said.

The spokesman said the terrorists in the city were reacting to the police forces' fight against terrorism.

Earlier in the day, around 9:45 a.m., a suicide bomber with an explosive vest killed at least 12 people and wounded 22 others at a police recruiting center in western Baghdad, said an Iraqi police official and the U.S. military.

Most of those killed and wounded were Iraqi police commandos who were working with recruits outside the base near al-Nisoor square.

The attacker was dressed in an Iraqi police commando uniform when he blew himself up, the police official said.

About three hours later, a suicide car bomb exploded at an Iraqi police checkpoint in the town of Mahmoudiya, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of Baghdad, an Iraqi police official said. Al-Yarmouk hospital in Baghdad received one dead and three wounded. All were civilians.

Shortly afterward, a remote-controlled car bomb exploded in eastern Baghdad, wounding three Iraqi policemen and eight civilians, a Baghdad police official said.

Other developments

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin met Sunday with French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. Putin said disagreements over Iraq should be left in the past and said the international community should work with the United States. (Full story)
  • Switzerland identified a man killed on Tuesday in Baghdad as Salah Jmor, a Swiss resident with dual nationality, according to Reuters. Jmor reportedly was shot after his car was stopped at by U.S. soldiers. Swiss officials did not say who fired the shot, Reuters reported. (Full story)
  • A wanted terrorist who is also suspected of being an aide to terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was arrested Saturday in Haswa, south of Baghdad, the Hilla police spokesman told CNN. Emir Sheik Asmaiel al-Khanifsi is believed to have conducted several terror attacks against Iraqi security forces and civilians, the spokesman said. He was arrested by Iskandariyya police near his home after returning from a trip abroad, the spokesman added.
  • Coalition forces will investigate the killing of the cousin of Iraq's representative to the United Nations. Samir Sumaida'ie said U.S. Marines killed his young cousin as he was cooperating with a search of his home in Haditha.
  • In the northern city of Mosul an Iraqi police officer, Lt. Col. Anwar al-Turky, was gunned down in a drive-by shooting Saturday morning, police said.
  • Iraqi Security Forces recently captured Dr. Safa Ali Chiad Mashul, who helped plan and carry out terrorist attacks, including kidnappings in Baghdad, according to coalition forces. The doctor, also known as Abu Sayf, treated hostages and helped disperse ransom money collected from their kidnappings. He was picked up during a raid in the Baghdad area.
  • CNN's Cal Perry and Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report.

    Reuters contributed to this report.

    Story Tools
    Subscribe to Time for $1.99 cover
    Top Stories
    Get up-to-the minute news from CNN gives you the latest stories and video from the around the world, with in-depth coverage of U.S. news, politics, entertainment, health, crime, tech and more.
    Top Stories
    Get up-to-the minute news from CNN gives you the latest stories and video from the around the world, with in-depth coverage of U.S. news, politics, entertainment, health, crime, tech and more.
    Search JobsMORE OPTIONS

    © 2007 Cable News Network.
    A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
    Terms under which this service is provided to you.
    Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
    Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by
    Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
    Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines