Three Americans have gone missing in Baghdad, and Arab news has reported they’ve been kidnapped by “militias.”
The State Department said it was working with Iraqi authorities, trying to locate the men.
“We are aware of reports that American citizens are missing in Iraq,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement to the Hill.
Kirby continued: “The safety and security of American citizens overseas is our highest priority. We are working with the full cooperation of the Iraqi authorities to locate and recover the individuals.”
Kirby also said “due to privacy considerations,” he wasn’t releasing the names of the men or other pertinent details about their status.
Arab news Al Arabiya, citing its own sources, said the men were kidnapped and that “militias” were to blame.
The men were contractors working for the State Department, but it’s not clear whether their roles were aligned with security or diplomacy.
Iraqi press reported they were kidnapped while visiting their interpretor’s home. Some local media outlets reported they were taken while visiting a brothel. But as Fox News pointed, the word brothel in the Mideast is often used to describe a residence – any residence – and does not necessarily mean a place of business for prostitutes.
The men went missing in the southeastern portion of Baghdad, in an area that’s home to majority Shiites and where the Sunni sect’s “ISIS is not particularly welcome,” one Fox correspondent reported.
The incident comes just a few days after Iran took 10 U.S. sailors captive in an armed situation that lasted 24 hours and that resulted in a widely watched propaganda video of Americans on their knees, in submission to Iranian forces. It also comes on the heels of Iran’s freeing of four Americans who have been held for some time by Tehran’s government.