Three American nationals kidnapped in the Iraqi capital Baghdad were taken from a “suspicious apartment” which they had visited for “drinking and women”, a local police colonel has claimed.
The men, who have not been named, were seized by militants while they were still inside the apartment in Baghdad’s Dora suburb, the colonel told AFP on condition of anonymity.
He said that the trio were taken to the apartment by an Iraqi translator who owned the flat, adding that it was stormed by local militiamen.
Asked to clarify exactly where the men were seized, the colonel said: “They were kidnapped from inside the apartment, not from the street.”
His comments appear to support a statement released by Baghdad’s security command, which said: “Three people carrying American nationality were kidnapped while they were in Dura... inside a suspicious apartment.”
The statement added that security teams have already begun searching for the American captives.
Despite Iraq being a strict Islamic country, there are numerous secret brothels and alcohol shops in Baghdad. These premises have been the repeat target of raids by Shia militias in the capital, with the majority of the victims being local residents who are then held to ransom.
Although it has not yet been confirmed, Shia militias are considered the most likely suspects for the American nationals’ kidnapping.
It is considered unlikely to have been an act by Isis militants as the Shia patrols have been largely successful in keeping the militants out of the city, as well as helping to reclaim vast swathes of land that the terror group controlled.