17 August 2004 -- An armed group is claiming it has kidnapped an Iraqi intelligence officer in response to the fighting between Shi'ite Muslim militants and allied U.S. and Iraqi government forces in the holy city of Al-Najaf.
Al-Jazeera television showed footage of two armed and masked men holding the officer, who was named as Osama Abd al-Jabbar. The group identified itself as the "Brigades for the Defense of Holy Sites."
In another development, the fiancee of a French-American journalist has appealed to his abductors in Iraq to free him.
The journalist, Micah Garen, was reported kidnapped in the southern city of Al-Nasiriyah.
His fiancee, Marie-Helene Carleton, was quoted by the media advocacy group Reporters Without Borders as saying Garen had been working on a film on war-threatened archaeological sites in Iraq.
(Reuters/AFP/AP)For the latest news on Iraq, see RFE/RL's webpage on "The New Iraq".