Two detained in connection with kidnappings of Algerian diplomats in Iraq

Two people have been detained in connection with the kidnapping of two Algerian diplomats last week, an Iraqi Interior Ministry official said Monday. It is not still clear who are the suspects, and when they were arrested.

On Monday, al-Iraqiya TV broadcast part of an interview with Interior Minister Bayan Jabr, who referred to the detentions.

"More than 30 cars from the special security intelligence forces surrounded the place and they detained two related to the kidnapping," Jabr was qouted as saying by the AP. "They are now under investigation. We were expecting that we would find the Algerian ambassador there, but we found some related persons to the kidnapping."

Gen. Hussein Ali Kamal, a ministry security adviser, did not say who the suspects were nor when they were picked up in last week's abduction of Algeria's top envoy to Iraq, charge d'affaires Ali Belaroussi, 62, and another Algerian diplomat, Azzedine Belkadi, 47. The two Algerians were kidnapped at gunpoint last Thursday along with their driver in west Baghdad's upscale Mansour district, police and Algerian officials said.

On Saturday, an Internet statement Saturday attributed to al-Qaida in Iraq claimed responsibility for kidnapping the Algerian diplomats, saying their government had ignored warnings against deepening ties to the U.S.-backed Iraqi leadership.

Algeria's leading Islamic militant group congratulated al-Qaida for kidnapping two Algerian diplomats in Baghdad, according to an Internet statement cited by Reuters.

Earlier Egypt's top diplomat in Iraq Ihab al-Sherif was kidnapped and supposedly killed by al-Qaida.

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