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Iraq Transition

U.S.: Missing soldier wasn't authorized to leave

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The U.S. military and Iraqi forces on Wednesday apprehended an unspecified number of people for "tactical questioning" in raids as the search for a missing U.S. soldier stretched into a third day, the military said.

The soldier is believed to have been abducted Monday from a relative's house and did not have permission to visit his family, a public affairs officer for the 4th Infantry Division said Tuesday.

The missing soldier, who has not been identified publicly, is an Iraqi-American translator, said CNN correspondent John Roberts, who was embedded with troops conducting the hunt. (Roberts' account of the search)

"We won't leave a fallen comrade," military spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Withington said. "We are committing all available coalition resources, and Iraqis are assisting us in the process." (Watch soldiers search for their missing comrade -- 2:06)

The military is using "actionable intelligence" and is going where it takes them, Withington said.

A military news release listed the translator's duty status as "whereabouts unknown."

The military said he was last seen in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone at 2:30 p.m. (7:30 a.m. ET) Monday before apparently leaving on the visit.

Three cars pulled up to the relative's residence and several men jumped out, the military said.

"The men, who were described to have dark-colored rags over their noses and mouths, handcuffed the soldier and forced him into one of the vehicles," the military said.

Shortly after the abduction, the kidnappers used the soldier's cell phone to call the relative, the relative told the military.

Based on that phone contact, U.S. soldiers raided several locations, including Al Farat TV station and Sadid al Dris Mosque, the military said.

U.S. soldiers confiscated weapons found at the TV station, which is owned by Iraq's largest Shiite political party, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, Roberts reported.

The search prompted the country's national security adviser, Muwaffaq al-Rubaie, to go to the TV station and ask about the raid, an Iraqi government security official said.

At the station, Haithem al-Husseini, chief of staff for Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq leader Abdul Aziz Hakim, demanded that the weapons be returned, and they were, Roberts reported.

U.S. troops searched other buildings in central Baghdad for the soldier, and coalition forces and Iraqi National Police set up checkpoints for vehicles attempting to leave the area, the military said.

"We will leverage all available coalition resources to find this soldier," said his commander, Maj. Gen. James D. Thurman.

Meanwhile, four people died and 20 others were wounded early Wednesday in eastern Baghdad as U.S. and Iraqi forces clashed with the Mehdi Army, the militia of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, for about two hours, said an Iraqi Interior Ministry official.

The battle came during a Sadr City raid authorized by the Iraqi government "to capture a top illegal armed group commander directing widespread death-squad activity throughout eastern Baghdad" and involved special Iraqi army forces, backed by coalition advisers, according to a U.S. military statement. (Full story)

CNN's Erin McLaughlin, John Roberts and Barbara Starr contributed to this report.

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U.S. soldiers man a checkpoint in Baghdad Wednesday, as the search continues for a missing soldier.

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