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Missing man in Iraq identified as Army civilian employee

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: U.S. military searching in Iraq for missing civilian employee
  • NEW: Family of Issa T. Salomi "anxiously awaiting" his return
  • Salomi may be the man seen in a video posted on an insurgent Web site
  • Banner in video indicates it's by group that kidnapped Briton
RELATED TOPICS
  • Baghdad
  • Blackwater USA
  • Iraq

(CNN) -- The U.S. military on Saturday searched for an Army civilian employee who went missing in Baghdad, Iraq, last month, and his family said they are "anxiously awaiting" his freedom.

Issa T. Salomi, 60, of El Cajon, California, worked for U.S. Forces-Iraq and has been unaccounted for since January 23, the Pentagon said.

"This is a traumatic time for the Salomi family," read a family statement released by the FBI office in San Diego, California. "We appreciate all the support everyone has shown towards us from all over the country, and we all share their heartfelt compassion."

The family asked reporters "to allow the proper channels and protocols be maintained without any static interference, for the safety of Issa."

"We are confident that everything is being done by the most capable people here and abroad to bring Issa home safely, and we all are anxiously awaiting his safe return."

A video posted Thursday on an Iraqi Web site shows a middle-age man identified as an American detailing his abductors' demands, but CNN has not yet been able to verify the authenticity of the tape or the identity of the man.

A black cloth displayed behind the man reads "The Islamic resistance, Assab Ahil Al-Haq in Iraq. Battalions of Imam Ali Al-Hadi." That is the name of the group that claimed to have kidnapped former British hostage Peter Moore, who was freed December 31 after being held for more than two years in Iraq.

The video was posted on a site that carries Shiite militant messages, but it was unknown when and where the video was taken.

The FBI won't confirm Salomi is on the tape or whether family members have seen it.

One of the demands the man details in the video is that members of the Blackwater security company receive justice for crimes committed against Iraqis.

This is a reference to the September 2007 shootout involving Blackwater security guards in Baghdad's Nusoor Square that left 17 Iraqis dead and two dozen wounded. The killings led Iraq's government to slap limits on security contractors hired by Blackwater, now known as Xe, and other firms.

U.S. military officials in Iraq declined to comment on the video.

 
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