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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 January, 2005, 18:38 GMT
French reporter missing in Iraq
Florence Aubenas
Florence Aubenas has covered conflicts in Rwanda and Algeria
A reporter for the French newspaper Liberation has gone missing in Iraq along with her Iraqi assistant.

"We have had no news from Florence Aubenas in over 24 hours", the Paris-based daily said.

It said that Ms Aubenas and her assistant, Hussein Hanoun Al-Saadi, were last seen leaving their Baghdad hotel early on Wednesday.

Two French journalists were released last month after being held hostage by Iraqi militants for four months.

Very worried

The French foreign ministry has confirmed Ms Aubenas and her assistant are missing.

"Every effort is being made by our representatives in Baghdad and by the ministry in Paris to find them," it said in a statement.

A journalist on the paper told the AFP news agency that staff there were very worried.

Florence Aubenas drinking tea in Irag
French journalists like Ms Aubenas have been warned to avoid Iraq
Ms Aubenas, 43, is an experienced reporter who has covered conflicts in Rwanda, Kosovo, Algeria and Afghanistan. She arrived in Iraq on 16 December.

The newspaper said it had alerted Iraqi and US officials.

The case of journalists Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot generated nationwide anxiety in France, and behind-the-scenes dealings by French diplomats and intelligence services.

After their eventual release, the pair said their colleagues should not go to Iraq, as it was a deeply dangerous place for journalists of all nationalities.

The French foreign ministry also stressed that it had warned "all our nationals, including media representatives, to avoid going to Iraq given the current security risks in this country".

France's long hostage wait ends
21 Dec 04 |  Middle East
French journalists freed in Iraq
21 Dec 04 |  Middle East

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