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Gunmen in Iraqi Army Uniforms Kidnap Iranian Diplomat in Baghdad

Gunmen in Iraqi army uniforms have abducted an Iranian diplomat in Baghdad.

A spokesman for Iran's foreign ministry said it holds the United States responsible for the safety of its diplomat, who was seized in Baghdad's Karradah district late Sunday.

The Iranian spokesman said the kidnappers were linked to Iraq's Defense Ministry "which works under the supervision of American forces."

A U.S. military spokesman denied any U.S. involvement in the seizure of the Iranian diplomat.

Iraqi officials say assailants riding in two vehicles intercepted the diplomat's car in the mainly Shi'ite district.

Meanwhile, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has urged his military commanders to speed up preparations for a security crackdown in Baghdad. The new security plan calls for 90,000 Iraqi and U.S. troops to patrol Baghdad's neighborhoods.

At least 24 people were killed in a series of car bombings and other attacks across the capital Monday. The U.S. military says an American Marine died due to enemy action Monday.

President Bush said Monday it is a good sign the Iraqi government wants the Baghdad security operation to begin.

Mr. Bush last month announced his plan to send more U.S. forces to Baghdad.

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