Al-Qaida loyalists in Iraq say they kidnapped Algeria's top diplomat in Baghdad.

In a statement posted Saturday on an Islamist Internet site, the group al-Qaida in Iraq said it targeted the chief of the Algerian mission in Baghdad as part of a campaign to drive out diplomats from other Muslim nations.

Al-Qaida in Iraq, which is headed by the country's notorious fugitive Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, compared the Algerian envoy's abduction this week to the kidnapping and murder earlier this month of Egypt's ambassador to Iraq.

The Algerian mission chief, Ali Belaroussi, and another member of Algeria's diplomatic staff in Iraq were snatched by gunmen on Thursday. Saturday's statement did not mention the second man.

Attacks by insurgents in Iraq have driven many diplomats from Baghdad, undermining the U.S.-backed government's efforts to gain support among Arab countries.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.