Algerian diplomats kidnapped in Baghdad
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Two Algerian diplomats were abducted Thursday afternoon outside a restaurant in Baghdad's Mansour neighborhood, a police source said.
The diplomats were identified as Algeria's charge d'affaires, Ali Bali'roosi, and Izzildin Menfadi.
Police said the abductors pulled up behind the restaurant in two cars, a blue Volkswagen Vento and a white Daewoo, and grabbed the diplomats. The diplomats had an unknown number of guards.
The diplomats' Toyota Land Cruiser was left behind and claimed later by Algerian Embassy staff.
The Mansour district is home to a number of Arab embassies.
Earlier this month, the top Egyptian envoy in Baghdad was kidnapped and killed. Al Qaeda in Iraq, the group linked to terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, claimed responsibility for the killing of the Egyptian, Ihab el-Sherif. (Full story)
Also this month, insurgents attacked Bahrain's charge d'affaires and Pakistan's ambassador. The Bahrain official was injured slightly; the Pakistani was unharmed.
Algeria, like Egypt, is an Islamic North African country that is part of the Arab world.
After those incidents, Iraq's Foreign Ministry said insurgents were attacking diplomats to target "the ongoing political process in Iraq and its international and diplomatic network."
"The ministry knows that these acts take place after the declaration of many Arab and Islamic countries to upgrade their diplomatic representation in Iraq and send their ambassadors to Baghdad, in order to impede this step and raise fears of these countries."
8 dead in Baghdad-area strikes
Elsewhere in the Baghdad area, insurgents killed eight people and wounded 16 Thursday morning in separate attacks. Five of the dead were Iraqi soldiers.
Gunmen killed three members of the Iraqi Reconstruction Committee of Qadisiya province at about 10 a.m. (2 a.m. ET) in a drive-by shooting in the al-Jamiaa neighborhood in western Baghdad.
A suicide car bomb detonated about an hour later at an Iraqi army checkpoint in southern Baghdad, wounding eight soldiers, police said.
Another suicide car bomb killed five Iraqi soldiers and wounded eight at a checkpoint in al-Mahmudiya, about 25 miles south of the capital.
CNN's Cal Perry, Enes Dulami and Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report.
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