Iraqi police say gunmen wearing military uniforms have carried out a mass kidnapping in central Baghdad, but at least 25 of the victims have been released.
Police say gunmen driving several vehicles rounded up about 30 victims at gunpoint in a commercial area of the city. The exact number of victims is unclear.
Iraqi authorities also say gunmen attacked a convoy carrying Vice President Adil Abdul Mahdi, but he escaped unharmed.
The new U.S. operational commander in Iraq, Lieutenant General Raymond Odierno, said efforts to stop the violence must include diplomatic, economic, and military programs.
Meanwhile, several U.S. senators visiting Baghdad Thursday called for sending 15- to 30-thousand more U.S. troops to Iraq to help stabilize the country. Senator John McCain and five other senators are in the Iraqi capital for talks with U.S. and Iraqi officials.
McCain, a Republican from Arizona, said more troops are needed to bring the situation in Iraq under control to allow the political process to proceed.
On Wednesday, U.S. military spokesman Major General William Caldwell warned that the upsurge in violence will continue unless Iraqi political leaders make a greater effort to overcome their differences.
Bombings and shootings across Iraq killed at least 34 people on Wednesday.Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters