Baghdad A missing Iraqi-American contractor was kidnapped by Shiite militiamen who lured him into central Baghdad by promising to help him find distant relatives, an Iraqi defense official said Saturday.
A Shiite extremist group claimed responsibility for the Jan. 23 kidnapping and posted a video online that shows a man wearing military fatigues reading a list of demands that includes the release of militants, the prosecution of Blackwater guards and an immediate American troop withdrawal.
A high-ranking Iraqi defense official and an American intelligence official identified the man in the video as Issa T. Salomi, the missing contractor. Both spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.
The defense official said Salomi was abducted in the central Baghdad district of Karradah. He said Salomi is of Iraqi origin and his abductors led him to believe they would help him find family members.
Salomi, 60, of El Cajon, California, has been missing since Jan. 23, the Pentagon said in a statement late Friday that provided the first news of Salomi’s disappearance.
A U.S. intelligence official said initial investigations indicated Salomi was abducted by criminals for revenge or money — and not as part of a terrorism scheme.