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Last Updated: Monday, 5 December 2005, 11:53 GMT
French engineer 'seized in Iraq'
A French water treatment engineer has been kidnapped in Baghdad, Iraqi police have said.

Witnesses said seven gunmen in two cars stopped the man outside his home in Baghdad's western district of Mansour.

The French foreign ministry has confirmed that a French national is missing, naming him as Bernard Planche.

The incident follows the kidnapping of a German woman 10 days ago, and the seizure of two Canadians, a Briton and an American a day later.

German archaeologist Susanne Ostoff was seized on 25 November.

The four Westerners kidnapped the next day are Christian peace activists - British man Norman Kember, 74, American Tom Fox, 54, and Canadians James Loney, 41, and Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32.

Insurgent groups holding the hostages have released videos of their captives and have threatened to kill them this week unless Iraqi prisoners are released.

Baghdad's relatively affluent western district of Mansour has seen a steady stream of kidnappings in recent years.

Western contractors and many Iraqi officials live in the area.

Two French journalists were kidnapped in Iraq in 2004 and eventually freed after weeks in captivity.

France's government has subsequently tried to dissuade its nationals from travelling to Iraq.

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