BEIJING, Nov. 17 (Xinhuanet) -- A convoy of
civilians traveling in about 19 vehicles was attacked and up to 14 people
abducted -- four believed to be Americans -- on Thursday at a checkpoint
near Nasiriyah in Southern Iraq, according to the U.S. military.
Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman
said he did not have new details on the attack. Whitman said British forces were
working with Iraqis to find out what happened.
An official familiar with the attack, who requested
anonymity because of the security situation in Iraq, said it appears that some
of the convoy drivers had been released and were being interviewed by the
military. He said initial reports suggest that the attack occurred at a
checkpoint where there is usually no blockade.
The convoy was being operated by the Crescent
Security Group. The company works mostly in Iraq, and its operations are based
Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a U.S. military
spokesman in Baghdad, confirmed that a convoy was attacked in the southern
region of Iraq, but he also provided no other details.
Italy formally handed over security responsibility of
the southern Dhi Qar Province to Iraqi forces in late September, and British
troops handed over control of the adjacent southern Muthana province in July.