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Reports: Turkish Shipping Magnate Kidnapped in Iraq - 2004-12-25


Video aired by Turkish television shows a wealthy Turkish businessman saying he has been kidnapped in Iraq.

Shipping magnate Kahraman Sadikoglu says in the video that he was abducted "four or five days ago" along with a boat captain and a driver, both Turks, and a bodyguard.

Mr. Sadikoglu says the kidnappers have accused him of doing something wrong. He denies the claim and says he hopes to be released after the kidnappers conduct an investigation.

The video did not show or suggest who abducted Mr. Sadikoglu, and did not contain any demands.

But Mr. Sadikoglu's family has asked the Turkish Foreign Ministry for help, saying the kidnappers are demanding a 25-million dollar ransom.

Turkish officials have asked U.S. officials in Iraq to help locate the missing businessman.

Police in the Iraqi city of Najaf say at least three civilians have been killed in a car bombing today (Saturday), less than a week after an attack there killed 52 people.

Initial details are sketchy, but police say the incident occurred on the highway between the Shi'ite holy cities of Najaf and Karbala and appeared to have targeted a U.S. military convoy. There was no word on whether there were U.S. casualties.

Meanwhile, Najaf's governor says police have arrested a group of men suspected of having organized last Sunday's attack and an announcement would be made in Baghdad next week.

In Baghdad, it was a bleak Christmas for the city's small Christian community. Further unnerved by an apparent suicide attack Christmas Eve that killed nine people, the city's churches were mostly empty today.

U.S. Marines in Iraq say they have arrested two leaders of a militant group linked to wanted terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

The men were arrested on December 8th and 12th during raids in the city of Ramadi, which is part of the restive al-Anbar province. The military did not announce the arrests until today (Saturday).

The Marines say Saleh Arugayan Khalil and Bassim Mohammed Hazem were cell leaders for a local Zarqawi-affiliated terrorist group called the "Harun terrorist network" that operates in and around Ramadi.

Their group is accused of executing 11 Iraqi National Guardsmen, as well as planting bombs and smuggling foreign militants into Iraq.

A newspaper quotes a U.S. Army official as saying the military has made a "mediocre" effort in Iraq, and remains in peril of losing the war.

The Washington Post today (Saturday) published excerpts of a report from Army Major Isaiah Wilson, who has served as a Army researcher and war planner in Iraq.

The paper quotes Major Wilson as saying the U.S. military did not have a formal plan for stabilizing the country after toppling Saddam Hussein.

The major says by mid-2003, U.S. forces had lost the dominant position in Iraq, and have been trying to regain it ever since.

He says the Army refuses to recognize that it is fighting what he calls a "war of rebellion, a people's war."

The Post quotes two military officials who say a post-war plan for Iraq did in fact exist.

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