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Iraqi State Company Executive Kidnapped

24 July 2004 -- A senior executive of an Iraqi government-owned contracting company was kidnapped at gunpoint today in Baghdad -- the latest in a wave of abductions.

Raad Adnan, general director for the Al-Mansur State Contracting Company, was taken from his car by a group of armed men, an Interior Ministry spokesman said today

The kidnapping follows the 23 July abduction of Egyptian diplomat Muhammad Mamdouh Qutb. Western news agencies quote sources at the Egyptian mission in Baghdad as saying it is involved in "intense talks" to secure his release.

Following the abduction, Egypt reaffirmed that it will not be sending any troops to Iraq.

Seven drivers working for a Kuwaiti company -- three Indians, two Kenyans, and an Egyptian -- are also being held in Iraq. The kidnappers are demanding that their Kuwaiti employer pay compensation to families of those killed by U.S. forces in Al-Fallujah, and that all Iraqi prisoners be freed from Kuwaiti and U.S. jails.

The Kuwaiti company says it is ready to take any measure to ensure the release of its workers.

(wire reports)