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Catholic Archbishop kidnapped in Iraq

The BBC and other news agencies are reporting this morning on the abduction of Archbishop Basile Georges Casmoussa, 66, in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. The Archbishop was abducted from outside his church in the east of the city.

Dr Joaquin Navarro Valls, Vatican press spokesman, has condemned the abduction as "an act of terrorism" according to the news reports.

Christians make up some 3% of Iraq's population of about 25 million. Archbishop Casmoussa is leader of the Syrian Catholic community which has close links to Rome.

The BBC reports: "Archbishop Casmoussa, leader of the city's Syrian Catholic community, was seized by gunmen at around 1700 (1400 GMT) as he was about to enter his car, a local priest told the AFP news agency."

"The kidnappers forced him into the trunk of their vehicle before speeding away, he said."

Archbishop abducted in Iraq (BBC 17/1/05)

AFP/Turkish Press report (17/1/05)

18 Jan 2005