- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 3, 2004

BAGHDAD — Gunmen kidnapped a Lebanese-American businessman — the second U.S. citizen seized this week in Baghdad — and militants released a tape yesterday showing the beheading of an Iraqi officer as a warning to those who deal with “the infidel” American troops.

Elsewhere, a U.S. soldier was killed and another was wounded in a roadside bombing 12 miles south of the capital. And a suicide driver detonated his vehicle at a checkpoint near Baghdad airport, injuring nine Iraqis and prompting U.S. troops to close the main route into the city for hours.

Radim Sadeq, an American of Lebanese origin who worked for a mobile-phone company, was grabbed around midnight Tuesday when he answered the door of his home in Baghdad’s upscale Mansour neighborhood, officials said. No group took responsibility.

It was the second abduction this week in Mansour, where many foreign companies are based. On Monday, gunmen stormed the two-story compound of a Saudi company, abducting six persons — an unidentified American, a Nepalese, a Filipino and three Iraqis, two of whom were later released. No claim of responsibility has been made in those kidnappings.

More than 170 foreigners have been kidnapped and more than 30 of them killed in Iraq since Saddam Hussein’s regime fell in April last year. At least six of the foreigners were beheaded by followers of Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Jordanian militant who has sworn allegiance to al Qaeda.

As the wave of abductions continues, another militant group, the Ansar al-Sunnah Army, posted a videotape on a Web site yesterday showing the beheading of man it said was an Iraqi army major captured in the northern city of Mosul.

A statement by the group called Maj. Hussein Shanoun an “apostate” and said he confessed to taking part in attacks against insurgents on orders of the Americans.

In another video aired on Al Jazeera, a previously unknown group calling itself the Brigades of Iraq’s Honorables said it beheaded three Iraqi national guardsmen, accusing them of spying for the Americans.

In Jordan, a government spokeswoman said four Jordanian drivers were kidnapped in Iraq and two others were shot at by unknown assailants. The spokeswoman said two other Jordanians came under fire in the Ramadi area in central Iraq, a stronghold of Sunni Muslim militants.

Elsewhere, attackers fired a mortar round yesterday at an Iraqi national guard checkpoint in Najaf’s old city, injuring two soldiers, Lt. Haidar Hussein said. It was the first such attack in the center of the Shi’ite holy city since a peace agreement last August ended weeks of fighting between U.S. troops and Shi’ite militiamen.

In Samarra, 60 miles north of Baghdad, residents said U.S. soldiers clashed with gunmen in the city center. Four Iraqis were killed and two injured.

To the west of the capital, U.S. forces are preparing for a major offensive against Fallujah and other Sunni militant strongholds in the hope of curbing the insurgency ahead of January election.

U.S. warplanes hit a command post in Fallujah yesterday. A weapons cache site in the city was destroyed late Tuesday, the U.S. military said.

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