Iran Seizes 3 US Tourists

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 1, 2009 5:51 AM CDT
This map locates Halabja, Iraq, where the three American tourists were last reported hiking.   (AP)
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(Newser) – Iran has arrested three American tourists who were hiking near the border in Iraq's Kurdistan region, the BBC reports. Kurdish officials believe the hikers were seized after accidentally straying into Iranian territory. State Department officials say they are investigating and taking the matter very seriously. "It looks like the three of them were kidnapped and they may have been taken into Iran," one official said.

Kuridsh officials say they have found some of the trio's belongings 500 yards from the Iranian border, where they apparently camped out after hiking in mountainous terrain. A fourth member of the group, who stayed behind in a hotel after being taken ill, received a phone call from his friends who told him they were in trouble and "being held by soldiers who are not speaking Kurdish or Arabic," a security official says.