Iraqis say soldier was married

October 30, 2006|By New York Times News Service

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- The missing U.S. soldier kidnapped by gunmen outside the heavily protected Green Zone last week was secretly married to an Iraqi woman and had been visiting her at the time of the abduction, people who identified themselves as his in-laws said yesterday.

These people, who provided the first vivid account of the abduction, said the kidnappers were members of the Mahdi Army, the Shiite militia, who dragged the soldier into a car at gunpoint. His whereabouts and condition remain unknown.

The soldier's marriage, if confirmed, would not only be highly unusual but also a violation of U.S. military rules, and would put the mystery of the missing soldier in an entirely new light.

The U.S. military command has been circumspect in the details of the missing soldier, saying he was an Iraqi-American interpreter who had left the Green Zone without permission to visit unidentified relatives in Baghdad.

The Iraqis who said they were the missing soldier's in-laws identified him as Ahmed Qusai al-Taei, 41.

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