Hunt for kidnapped soldier in Sadr City

Oct. 28, 2006 at 2:01 AM
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BAGHDAD, Oct. 28 (UPI) -- U.S. troops made a foray Friday into Sadr City, the Baghdad base of the Mahdi Army, as they continued a search for a kidnapped soldier.

Sheikh Abdul Zahra al-Suwadi, head of Moqtada al-Sadr's office in the neighborhood, told The New York Times that U.S. forces, backed by helicopter gun ships, spent about an hour in the area. They searched a mosque and school.

"We have been ordered by Najaf to not engage in any clashes with them, because we know they want to drag us into a conflict, but we are now a part of the political process," Suwadi said, referring to Sadr's headquarters.

The soldier, an Iraqi-American, disappeared Monday while visiting relatives outside the fortified Green Zone. A relative said masked men invaded the house, handcuffed the soldier and took him away in a vehicle.

Friday was a quiet day in Baghdad. Police said they found eight bodies in the city but no bombings were reported.

On Wednesday, U.S. troops and Iraqi security forces entered Sadr City searching for a Shiite guerilla. They skirmished with the militia for several hours.

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