Jordan’s embassy driver kidnapped in Baghdad

A driver for the Jordanian Embassy in Baghdad was kidnapped Tuesday as he drove his private car from home to work, Jordanian government spokesman Nasser Judeh said. Mahmoud Ziyadat's car was "intercepted by three vehicles along the way from home to work this morning," Judeh told The Associated Press. He said the driver, a Jordanian citizen, had been working in the Baghdad embassy for four years. No other details were immediately available.

Insurgents have often targeted Jordanians in the past. In September, gunmen opened fire on a Jordanian Embassy vehicle near Baghdad's Ghazaliyeh bridge. None of the passengers, who included a Jordanian diplomat, were hurt, but two people in a car behind were killed. In January, three Jordanian truck drivers transporting fuel to Iraq were killed and their bodies were dumped on the outskirts of Ramadi, 113 kilometers (70 miles) west of Baghdad. The motive remains unknown.

At least 19 other Jordanians, including businessmen, have been kidnapped in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime in April 2003. All 19 either escaped or were freed.

The Jordanian Embassy itself was the target of a 2003 suicide car bomb attack which killed 19 people, including embassy guards. The attack was claimed by al-Qaida in Iraq, which is led by the Jordanian-born Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

The same group claimed responsibility for the Nov. 9 suicide bombing in three hotels in Amman, the Jordanian capital, which killed 63 people, including the bombers, reports the AP. I.L.

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