sheeps

sheeps

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- An American citizen was kidnapped along with the three Romanian journalists abducted Monday in Iraq, the U.S. State Department said Wednesday.

Citing privacy laws, a State Department spokeswoman in Washington said she could not release more information, but called for the "immediate and safe recovery of all hostages in Iraq."

The Romanians and an unidentified man appeared in a video that aired on the Arabic-language network Al-Jazeera Wednesday. It has not been confirmed whether the unidentified man is the American hostage.

The four were shown sitting on a floor as two men -- their faces covered by traditional headscarves -- stood to the side, pointing guns at them.

The three Romanians -- Marie Jeanne Ion, Sorin Dumitru Miscoci, and Eduard Ovidiu Ohanesian -- work for Prima TV. They were abducted Monday night. (Full story)

Prima TV confirmed the three were in the hostage video. It did not know who the fourth individual was.

The hostages appeared calm in the video. At one point, Ion looked into the camera and said in English, "We have been kidnapped."

She then said there had been reports their hostage-takers "asked for something in exchange for our freedom. This is not true."

In Romania, the Foreign Ministry and the main intelligence service have set up a team to investigate the abduction, and President Traian Basescu has expressed concern.

Ion's sister pleaded for her safe return.

"I implore you to do everything you can to bring my sister back home," Ana Maria Ion said in an interview on Romanian television. "She has no guilt. Our family is waiting for Marie Jeanne to be here, also all the others."

The three were last heard from by the station around 7:45 p.m. Monday during a telephone conversation that was broadcast while they were apparently being abducted, an executive said.

A cell phone text message also was sent that said: "Please call the embassy urgently," a reference to Romania's Baghdad embassy.

The Romanian ambassador to Iraq has collected the personal effects of the team, which had been in Iraq for three days and had been planning to stay for only five days, a Western source said.

Seven civilians die in attacks
Insurgents targeting U.S. forces killed seven civilians Wednesday, police said, during attacks in the northern city of Mosul and the Iraqi capital.

A woman and child were among six killed in Mosul when insurgents fired on a U.S. military patrol in the northeastern part of the city, police said.

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A firefight followed the initial attack, they said.

Five other civilians -- three women and two men -- were wounded, police said.

In western Baghdad, a remotely detonated car bomb targeting a U.S. military convoy exploded near an elementary school, killing a school guard and wounding five others, police said.

The explosion -- in the city's Abu Ghraib district -- missed the military convoy, police said.

A critically injured teacher was among the wounded taken to a hospital, police said.

Meanwhile, U.S. soldiers shot and killed an insurgent Tuesday in Mosul, the American military said.

Also Tuesday, U.S. soldiers killed an insurgent, wounded one and confiscated weapons in Tal Afar, west of Mosul, the military said.

Soldiers arrested seven people suspected of a rocket attack close to a U.S.-led coalition base near the northern city of Kirkuk, according to the military. Ten suspects also were arrested in raids Tuesday in northern Iraq.

Other developments

The U.S. military said an unmanned Air Force reconnaissance aircraft crashed Wednesday in Rawah, a western town on the Euphrates River close to the Syrian border. Another unmanned aircraft crashed Sunday near Balad, north of Baghdad. The military is investigating both incidents.


The Associated Press reports that about 10,500 prisoners in Iraq are in U.S. custody, more than twice as many as the military said were held in October. (Full story)


The transitional National Assembly failed to choose a speaker Tuesday after arguments broke out among lawmakers and reporters were ordered to leave the session. (Full story)

CNN's Elise Labott and Enes Dulami contributed to this report.
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