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US Troops Search for Missing American Soldier in Baghdad


U.S. forces in the Iraqi capital are searching house-to-house for a missing American soldier.

U.S. military officials say the soldier is an American of Iraqi descent who worked as a translator. They say he went missing Monday night in the central Karradah district of Baghdad at a time when many Iraqis were returning to their homes to celebrate the Eid al-Fitr Muslim holiday marking the end of Ramadan.

The military has not said whether officials believe he was abducted, attacked, or left duty on his own.

Meanwhile, the commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, General George Casey, will hold a news conference in Baghdad Tuesday, with U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad.

General Casey recently said he believes Iraqi security forces will be able to take responsibility for all of Iraq within 12 to 18 months. British media report that U.S. officials hope the general will make a convincing case that the timetable is still feasible.

Separately, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned Tuesday that Iraq could break up if the Baghdad government does not take urgent steps toward real national unity.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.