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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 April, 2005, 09:50 GMT 10:50 UK
Iraq general kidnapped in Baghdad
Iraqi troops in an armoured personnel carrier
Saleh heads one of Iraq's first armoured units to re-form
An Iraqi general who commands a special armoured unit has been kidnapped by gunmen in Baghdad, Iraqi police say.

Brig Gen Mohammad Jalal Saleh was pulled from his car along with his bodyguards in the west of the city.

The kidnapping came after two powerful car bombs exploded in Baghdad, killing at least one civilian and a US soldier.

Gen Saleh commands a 1,600-strong interior ministry unit formed to deal with insurgents and criminal gangs, the French news agency AFP reports.

It was one of the first armoured units to be reassembled after the war and the dissolution of the army.


Different areas of Baghdad were rocked by two car bombs shortly after 0900 (0500 GMT).

The first in the southern Doura district targeted a US military convoy. A bomb hidden in a taxi exploded killing a US soldier and wounding four others.

At least one injured Iraqi civilian was taken to Yarmouk hospital.

The second blast in the western Amariyah district killed a civilian and wounded two others. Reports say it was aimed at an Iraqi army convoy carrying a high-ranking officer who escaped unhurt.

The US military meanwhile confirmed that 12 Iraqis and four US prison guards were wounded in a riot at Camp Bucca near the southern town of Umm Qasr on Friday. It initially denied knowledge of the incident.

The military also said two US soldiers and an Iraqi soldier were killed on Monday in an intense gun battle in Diyala province north-east of Baghdad.

A US marine was killed by an explosion in the western Anbar province on the same day, the military said.

Kidnap scourge

No group has yet said it abducted Gen Saleh, who commands the interior ministry's Eighth Mechanised Police Brigade.

He was seized from the upmarket Mansour district at about 1130, an interior ministry official said.

The kidnapping of foreign aid workers and journalists gets the most international attention, but Iraqis are very frequent targets, usually abducted for ransom.

Even the city's anti-kidnap unit is unsure how many take place, says the BBC's Matthew Price in Baghdad.

An officer who spoke to our correspondent refused to be identified because a colleague of his was killed after appearing in the media.

Both insurgents and criminals engage in kidnapping in Iraq.


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