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2 Americans, Briton kidnapped in Baghdad

Roadside bomb wounds five Iraqi soldiers

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U.S., Iraqi accounts of Baghdad fighting at odds.

The U.S. strategy in Falluja has come under question.

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BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Two Americans and a Briton were seized by kidnappers from their home in central Baghdad early Thursday, an Iraqi Ministry of Interior representative told CNN.

The three were at their home, which also serves as the offices of al-Khaleej Services Company, in the upscale al-Mansur district of central Baghdad, spokesman Col. Adnan Abdul Rahman said..

The U.S. Embassy and the British Embassy confirmed the abductions.

A statement from the U.S. Embassy said, "Two American citizens, Jack Hensley and Eugene 'Jack' Armstrong, were kidnapped this morning from their residence in the Mansour district by unknown gunmen along with a British subject."

The facility did not have a guard posted at the time, a neighbor said, adding that the abduction appeared to be carefully planned. She said there is usually one day guard at the residence and one night guard.

No shots were fired in the kidnapping.

The neighbor said a night guard who is usually on duty did not show up Wednesday night.

She said when one of the occupants of the house came out to turn on the electric generator, something he did at the same time every day, the abductors moved in.

An Iraqi police official said 11 kidnappers, dressed in civilian clothing, drove up to the residence in a minibus and a sedan.

Six of the abductors in the minivan entered the offices and seized the Westerners, the police official said.

After the kidnapping, the abductors stole a Nissan parked outside the house.

Other developments

  • U.S. forces conducted airstrikes in Falluja Friday morning aimed at rooting out insurgents associated with known terrorist leader Abu Musab Al Zarqawi, the Coalition Press Information Center said. The center reported that interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi authorized the attack on a "terrorist compound" located in the south-central part of Falluja, which took place at about 2:45 a.m. (6:45 p.m. Thursday ET). There was no immediate word on casualties.
  • The U.S. Marines announced "Operation Hurricane," described as "clearing operations" in Ramadi intended to discover and remove illegal weapons and ammunition caches. The announcement from the 1st Marine Division said multi-national forces were attempting to disrupt the Dahman terrorist network, which is linked to terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. The Marines said the Dahman network has been responsible for attacks on military and civilian targets in Al Anbar province.
  • A new national intelligence estimate lays out various scenarios for a postwar Iraq, not all of them good, senior administration officials confirmed to CNN Thursday. At the Pentagon, a senior defense official called the NIE "one view," and said that among the conclusions was that "Iraq will be challenged in the next year or two in achieving political solutions." (Full story)
  • A U.S. Marine Corps Humvee hit a roadside bomb Thursday south of Falluja, the U.S. Marine Corps said. The Humvee belonged to the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force. No other details were immediately available.
  • Five Iraqi National Guard troops were wounded, one of them critically, Thursday when a roadside bomb exploded near their vehicle in the al-Faysalia neighborhood in the northern part of Mosul, according to Gen. Mou'taz Sami from the guard. Three other roadside bombs did not explode and were being defused.
  • In Baghdad, an explosion went off Thursday in the Bataween residential area, behind al-Madhaq Restaurant, off Sa'doun Street. One man was killed and 16 injured. It is not known whether it was a mortar or a bomb.

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