Three members of Iraqi interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's family have been kidnapped in Baghdad.
In an Internet statement posted Wednesday, a previously unknown group, Ansar al-Jihad, said it abducted the three and threatened to kill them in 48 hours unless the military assault on Fallujah is called off and all Iraqi prisoners are freed.
Earlier, a spokesman for Mr. Allawi said a group of gunmen kidnapped the prime minister's first cousin, his wife and a relative from their Baghdad home Tuesday.
Meanwhile, one U.S. soldier was killed and another wounded in a roadside bomb blast near Balad, north of Baghdad.
And, near the town of Tuz, further to the north, six Iraqi soldiers were killed when two roadside bombs exploded near their convoy.
Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.