Search for Missing U.S. Soldier Continues in Baghdad

American Forces Press Service

BAGHDAD, Oct. 24, 2006 - Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers are searching for U.S. soldier missing since yesterday evening. Officials have not released the soldier's name.

Soldiers from the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team and the 4th Infantry Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team, along with the Iraqi National Police, mounted an intensive effort to locate the soldier by using all means available, including attack aviation elements and unmanned aerial vehicles.

"We will leverage all available coalition resources to find this soldier," Army Maj. Gen. James D. Thurman, commander of Multinational Division Baghdad, said. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to his loved ones, and we are working for his safe return."

The soldier was last seen inside the International Zone around 2:30 p.m. Monday. He is assigned as a linguist with duty at Provincial Reconstruction Team Baghdad.

Officials believe the soldier left the International Zone to visit with family. He was reportedly at a relative's house when three cars pulled up to the residence. Men with dark-colored rags over their noses and mouths handcuffed the soldier and forced him into one of the vehicles, witnesses reported.

The kidnappers, using the soldier's cell phone, reportedly contacted the soldier's relative, who claimed to be at the residence when the abduction occurred. After being notified of the telephone contact, Multinational Division Baghdad leaders immediately began looking for the soldier.

Throughout the night, coalition and Iraqi security forces conducted targeted raids on suspected locations. The raided locations included the Al Farat TV station and the Sadid al Dris Mosque, U.S. officials said.

Coalition forces and Iraqi police used checkpoints to close down roads and bridges in central Baghdad and are searching vehicles attempting to leave the area. Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers have searched several houses and buildings in the area.

Operations to locate the missing Soldier will continue until the Soldier is found, officials said. The soldier is officially considered as "duty status whereabouts unknown."

(From a Multinational Corps Iraq news release.)

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