updated 7/21/2005 8:03:33 AM ET 2005-07-21T12:03:33

Algeria's top envoy to Iraq, a second diplomat, and their driver were abducted Thursday in a western Baghdad neighborhood, police and embassy employees said.

Police officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the abduction took place Thursday afternoon in the upscale Mansour district, home to many embassies. They said they had no further information.

An embassy employee said by telephone that charge d'affaires Balarousi Ali "was abducted 15 minutes ago" and that Algerian staff "have no further information."

Police officials said the envoy, along with another diplomat, was kidnapped near the al-Sa'a restaurant in Mansour when his car was stopped by gunmen in two cars who dragged him from his vehicle.

Earlier this month, gunmen ambushed three other top diplomats from Muslim countries in western Baghdad, all in apparent bids to scare off foreign governments and isolate Iraq from the Arab world.

Insurgents claimed to have killed one, the Egyptian top envoy. Bahrain's top envoy to Iraq was slightly wounded, and Pakistan's ambassador escaped injury in those attacks.

Al-Qaida in Iraq, which claimed responsibility for the attacks, has threatened Arab and Muslim countries that cooperate with the U.S.-backed Iraqi government.

In earlier statements posted on the Internet, the country's most feared terror group said it wanted to seize "as many ambassadors as we can" to punish governments that support Iraq's Shiite-dominated government.

A total of 49 countries or entities have some form of diplomatic representation in Iraq, including 18 Arab or non-Arab Muslim countries, according to Iraq's Foreign Ministry and country Web sites.

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