Iraq: convoy attacked, up to 14 civilians abducted 2006-11-17 13:43:57

    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 in Kuwait.

    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.


Editor: Gareth Dodd
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