Americans Missing in Iraq: Taken From Brothel?
Details from reported kidnapping case still murky
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 18, 2016 11:04 AM CST
Motorists on Monday pass by the apartment complex where three Americans were reportedly kidnapped from over the weekend, in the Dora neighborhood of Baghdad.   (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

(Newser) – Conflicting reports still abound about a group of Americans reported kidnapped in Baghdad over the weekend, as Iraqi security forces infiltrated the Dora neighborhood Monday, going house to house in search of clues, the AP reports. Even the number of Americans missing is still unclear: Local media has reported three—and the Washington Post notes that number has been confirmed by Baghdad Operations Command—while the US Embassy has simply confirmed "several" missing. The location they were taken from is also up in the air. Per the AP, a local cop reports the Americans were taken Saturday from their car on a highway to Baghdad's international airport, while an Iraqi government official says they were at their interpreter's home in southwest Dora when they were "taken" to Sadr city, after which "all communications and contact stopped."

And the Post notes that the interpreter's apartment was known as a neighborhood "brothel," per a building resident and a local police official. The paper adds that sex dens, bars, and liquor stores in the area are often raided by Shiite militias for being "un-Islamic." "They went to an inappropriate place," an Iraqi lawmaker says. "Iraqi security forces are working very hard now to locate them." As are US officials, per Fox News. "There is a very full effort going to find them as soon as possible," Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday. Meanwhile, Iraqi security forces are remaining tight-lipped about the captives, whom the Post identifies as two men and a woman of Iraqi origin who worked as contractors at the airport, per various security and police sources. "The government is taking major steps to withhold information," a provincial security head tells the Post. "They don't want to jeopardize the investigation."