BAGHDAD, Iraq, AP -Gunmen kidnapped a female American journalist and killed her Iraqi translator Saturday in western Baghdad, an Interior Ministry official said.
Maj. Falah Mohamadawi said the translator told police before he died that the abduction took place when he and the journalist were heading to meet Adnan al-Dulaimi, head of the Sunni Arab Iraqi Accordance Front, in the Adel section of the city.
The neighborhood is dominated by Sunni Arabs and considered one of toughest in Baghdad.
According to Samir Najim, a guard at al-Dulaimi’s office, three armed men in a red Opel four-sedan intercepted the journalist’s car and shot the translator before taking her in their car and driving away. The kidnapping took place about 100 yards from al-Dulaimi’s office.
Insurgents have kidnapped more than 250 foreigners in the past two years, aiming to force U.S.-led troops to leave Iraq or prevent Arab nations from strengthening their ties with the Baghdad government.
Some of the hostages were killed, while others were released after ransoms were paid or freed after Muslim clerics called the armed groups to release them.
On Dec. 8, the Islamic Army in Iraq claimed to have killed U.S. electrician Ronald Schulz. Other groups are holding a French engineer and four Christian humanitarian workers — two Canadians, a Briton and an American.
No news has been received about the fate of those men since a group claiming responsibility for their capture imposed a Dec. 10 deadline for their killings. The previously unknown Swords of Righteousness Brigade had threatened to kill the group if the United States and Britain did not release all detainees in Iraq.
Briton Norman Kember, 74, Canadians James Loney, 41, and Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32, and American Tom Fox, 54, were abducted in Baghdad on Nov. 26. All four were working in Iraq with Christian Peacemaker Teams, a Canadian-based organization that has investigated allegations of abuse against Iraqi prisoners.
Kidnappers last week released two men, a Cypriot businessman and a Lebanese engineer.
A total of 76 journalists and media staff have been killed in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003, the press freedom group Reporters Without Borders said Wednesday. That was more than the 63 reporters killed in the 1955-1977 conflict in Vietnam, the group said, citing figures from U.S.-based press advocacy group Freedom Forum.