Source Pravda.Ru

Ireland to send team to Baghdad

Ireland announced Thursday it will send a diplomatic mission to Baghdad in the hope of winning freedom for Rory Carroll, a Dublin-born journalist who was abducted by gunmen.

The five-person team will be led by Ireland's ambassador to Finland, Antoin MacUnfraidh, a fluent Arabic speaker who served as Ireland's ambassador to Iraq before the first Gulf War in 1991. Also traveling Friday will be two Irish army officers, a high-ranking police officer and another Department of Foreign Affairs official.

Carroll, 33, an experienced foreign correspondent for The Guardian newspaper of Britain, had been reporting from Baghdad since January. Gunmen abducted him Wednesday as he left an interview in a Shiite Muslim section of the Iraqi capital. Since then, no group has claimed responsibility or issued any demands.

Ireland, an officially neutral nation, has been critical of the U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Iraq. But the government has allowed the American military to use Ireland's Shannon Airport as one of its major refueling stops for Iraq-bound forces and equipment, AP reports.

A. A.