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Iran Says 11 More Pilgrims Kidnapped In Syria

Eleven Iranian pilgrims were reportedly kidnapped on February 1 in Syria, the latest such reported incident in the unrest-swept Arab state.

The official IRNA news agency said the latest case raised to 29 the number of Iranians abducted in Syria since December.

Iran's consul at the embassy in Damascus said the pilgrims were snatched in the central city of Hama.

Abdolmahjid Kamjou was quoted as saying that "armed people are trying to take advantage of the pilgrims to propagate that Iran is sending forces to Syria," insisting that "all Iranians kidnapped so far are civilians."

Syria is Iran's main ally in the Arab world, and the opposition has accused Tehran of aiding the regime's crackdown on dissent.

On January 27, the rebel Free Syrian Army claimed to have captured five Iranian military officers in the city of Homs.

Compiled from agency reports