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Video of kidnapped UAE diplomat in Iraq surfaces

New UK defense chief: Basra not 'out of control'


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



BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The Arabic-language satellite network Al-Jazeera has broadcast video showing a United Arab Emirates diplomat who was kidnapped earlier this week.

In the tape, Naji Noemi, the UAE consul in Iraq, can be seen standing against a wall. In a separate statement, a group calling itself "The Banner of Islam" claimed responsibility for the kidnapping, according to Al-Jazeera.

Al-Jazeera reports the group is demanding the closing of the UAE Embassy in Iraq and the shutdown of the Iraqi television station Al Fayha. Al Fayha broadcasts from Dubai, according to Al-Jazeera.

Unidentified gunmen kidnapped the diplomat in an upscale Baghdad neighborhood Tuesday evening, wounding his Sudanese bodyguard in the process, police said. The bodyguard survived to describe the attack to investigators, they said. (Watch the hostage on videotape -- :42)

The attack was the second in a month involving the UAE mission in Iraq. On May 3, two Iraqis working for the embassy were killed in an attack on their car, the Emirates News Agency reported.

Elsewhere in the capital, four U.S. soldiers with the Multi-National Division - Baghdad and an Iraqi interpreter died Thursday "when a roadside bomb struck their vehicle northwest of Baghdad," the military said.

The names of the soldiers were being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

Since the start of the war, there have been 2,443 U.S. military fatalities in Iraq. Seven American civilian contractors of the military also have died in the conflict.

The bombing came amid reports Thursday of violence that resulted in the deaths of 26 people, including a U.S. sailor, Iraqi police and civilians.

The reports included:

  • A U.S. sailor was killed in Anbar province Wednesday "due to enemy action," a military statement said. The sailor was deployed with the Marines' Regimental Combat Team 5.
  • Fifteen Iraqi Olympic Tae Kwon Do team members were kidnapped on a road between Ramadi and Falluja, west of Baghdad, an official with the Iraqi Olympic Committee said.
  • A mortar round struck an open market in Baghdad's Dora neighborhood, killing four guards and wounding another, Baghdad police said.
  • A car bomb targeting a patrol of Iraqi police commandos along a busy road in Baghdad's Waziriya neighborhood killed seven people and wounded four others, police said. Two of the wounded were commandos.
  • Gunmen killed six car mechanics who were driving to work in Baghdad, police said. The mechanics were all related.
  • U.S. and Iraqi troops killed three insurgents and wounded 10 more and a civilian in two incidents, the U.S. military said.

    In Tikrit, several insurgents were spotted burying an improvised explosive device on a roadway; U.S. and Iraqi troops opened fire, wounding nine insurgents and a civilian. The insurgents were later found at a hospital, and were treated and detained. The civilian was treated as well.

    In Mosul, Iraqi police spotted insurgents attacking three civilians. The police killed three of the insurgents and wounded another, the military said.

    'Basra is calm'

    Britain's new defense secretary visited the southern city of Basra on Thursday, where seven British service members have died this month.

    "Basra is calm, and British forces are working hand in hand with their Iraqi and coalition partners," said Defense Secretary Des Browne, arriving in Iraq two weeks after taking office. "Suggestions that the city is, in some way, out of control, are ridiculous."

    The defense secretary referred to a roadside bombing that killed two UK soldiers May 13 and a helicopter crash May 6 that killed five British military personnel. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

    "The past two weeks have been marked by great sadness, but the determination to help the Iraqi government build a better Iraq remains," Browne said.

    "None of this means things are easy, of course, and a number of unconnected incidents locally have led to a rise in intertribal violence, but we're confident this will be resolved," Browne said.

    The defense secretary added that he is "confident that over the next few months, the Iraqi security forces will be able to begin to take control of the security of their country in those areas of Iraq where the conditions are right."

    Other developments

  • Italy's new prime minister said Thursday that the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq had been a "grave error." Romano Prodi made the remarks while detailing his government's program before Italy's Senate. Prodi, a center-left politician who leads a wafer-thin majority in government, was jeered by center-right senators who yelled "shame, shame." He said Italy plans to be in the forefront of the war on terror, even with military intervention, as long as there is international backing. (Full story)
  • The U.S. military has given troops in Iraq a laser device to temporarily blind drivers who ignore warnings at vehicle checkpoints, Reuters reported Thursday. Army Lt. Col. Barry Venable, a Pentagon spokesman, defended its use as legal and said the devices were intended to prevent civilians from being shot. (Full story)
  • Iraq's prime minister-designate plans to present his Cabinet nominations to lawmakers Saturday, according to a letter he sent to Iraq's parliament speaker. If the body approves the Cabinet nominations, a government will be formed, ending a transitional leadership phase that began when Saddam Hussein was toppled in 2003.
  • CNN's Cal Perry and Elise Labott contributed to this report.

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