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UAE diplomat kidnapped in Baghdad

23 die in shooting, car bombing at northeast Baghdad garage

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Gunmen kidnapped a United Arab Emirates diplomat in an upscale Baghdad neighborhood Tuesday evening, wounding his bodyguard in the process, police said.

The diplomat was taken captive about 8:45 p.m. (12:45 ET) while visiting a cultural center operated by the UAE embassy in the Mansour district of western Baghdad, police said. The diplomat's name was not immediately known.

His Sudanese bodyguard was shot during the abduction, but he survived and described the attack to investigators, police said. No further details were immediately available.

The attack was the second in two weeks involving employees of the UAE embassy in Iraq. On May 3, two Iraqis working for the embassy were killed during an attack on their car, according to the Emirates News Agency.

Bombing, gunfire kills 23

In other violence Tuesday, a shooting and a car bombing killed 23 people at a garage in northeast Baghdad, police said.

Gunmen stormed the garage and killed five people. A car bomb outside the garage later killed 18 civilians and injured 33 others, police said.

Elsewhere in Baghdad, attackers killed 14 people Tuesday.

A dean at Mustansriya University and two bodyguards were shot dead in Adhamiya, a northern Sunni neighborhood.

Abass Ali Dhahir al-Amerri, dean of the school's college of management and economics, and three bodyguards were driving when attackers fired on them. The surviving guard was in critical condition.

Gunmen also fired at a Kia minibus in northern Baghdad, killing four civilians and wounding seven others.

Six civilians died when gunmen opened fire in the southern Hor Rijab Shiite district, while another civilian was killed when gunmen struck at a police patrol in western Baghdad's Qahtan Square.

Three bodies were found in two neighborhoods of Baghdad. All had been shot in the head and appeared to have been tortured.

Hundreds of bodies have been dumped in the capital and other Iraqi cities since the February 22 bombing of Al-Askariya Mosque in Samarra, sparking Sunni-Shiite sectarian violence.

Four U.S. deaths

The U.S. military reported the deaths of four American soldiers in roadside blasts.

One soldier was killed Tuesday when a roadside bomb exploded in southern Baghdad, the military said.

Two soldiers from the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, were killed Monday when their vehicle struck a roadside bomb near Balad, north of the capital, in Salaheddin province.

The military also reported a soldier with the 4th Infantry Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team died in Ludwigshafen, Germany, of injuries suffered April 20 when a makeshift bomb went off near his Bradley fighting vehicle in Baghdad.

The deaths brought to 2,441 the number of U.S. troops killed in the Iraq war. Seven American civilian contractors of the military also have died in the conflict.

Other developments

  • The trial of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and his co-defendants became bogged down Tuesday in an argument over semantics when the judge reprimanded a defense witness for his repeated use of the phrase "his excellency, the president" when talking about Hussein. The ousted Iraqi leader was not present in the courtroom, and the trial was adjourned till Wednesday. (Full story)
  • U.S. forces killed an insurgent and detained another suspect Tuesday southwest of Baghdad after three people were spotted trying to set up a roadside bomb, the military said. Soldiers were searching for a third person. Troops also found weapons and munitions, including two AK-47 rifles and six 155 mm rounds.
  • Iraqi forces apprehended an aide to terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi late Monday in Ramadi, west of Baghdad, the Iraqi Interior Ministry said. Salah Hussein Abdul Razaq was detained during an operation in northern Ramadi, the ministry said. Ministry forces later arrested Omar Ahmed Salih, also known as Abu Jibril, a leader of the al Qaeda-linked militant group Tawhid wa Jihad, at his Baghdad house.
  • CNN's Cal Perry, Mohammed Tawfeeq and Ryan Chilcote contributed to this report.

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