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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. Officer Reported Missing

BAGHDAD -- A United States military spokesman said Tuesday that there had been no word on the fate of a U.S. Army soldier reported missing in Baghdad, as troops continued door-to-door searches in the central Karradah district.

U.S. and Iraqi forces threw a security cordon around Karradah on Monday night and Iraqis seeking to pass through the downtown area Tuesday were turned away at roadblocks. Army Kiowa OH-58 reconnaissance helicopters were seen repeatedly circling the area in pairs.

U.S. soldiers patrolling Karradah showed photocopies of the man's photograph to residents in a search for leads.

The missing soldier's name and other personal details have not been officially released, although U.S. troops who raided Baghdad's al-Furat television on Monday said they were looking for an abducted U.S. officer of Iraqi descent who went to join family members in Karradah.

"We have not heard anything," Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Garver, a U.S. spokesman in Baghdad, said Tuesday.

"We are sure U.S. forces are doing everything they can in the search," Garver said.

A U.S. military official in Washington on Monday said the man was a U.S. Army translator of Iraqi descent who may have been abducted. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the information was not cleared for release.

The last time U.S. soldiers were reported missing was in June, when two soldiers were abducted during an attack on their checkpoint in Baghdad. The soldiers were later found dead, their bodies brutalized, the military said. One of the soldiers had been beheaded.

October is already the deadliest month this year for U.S. troops in Iraq, with at least 86 killed, boosting domestic pressure on U.S. President George W. Bush before congressional elections in two weeks.

Opinion polls suggest he could lose control of both houses, but he has insisted the United States will not leave Iraq "until we get the job done."

Bush's closest ally, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, was faced with a new poll on Tuesday that showed more than 60 percent of Britons want troops pulled out this year.

The ICM poll for the Guardian newspaper found only 30 percent of Britons supported Blair's stance that British troops must stay until Iraq can provide its own security.

A poll released by the CNN new agency on Monday said one in five Americans believed Washington was winning the war in Iraq, a figure halved since December. A similar number believe insurgents are winning, CNN said on its web site. Nearly two-thirds oppose the war.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday that Iraq could break up without urgent steps to underpin national unity.

"If there is no start to efforts towards unity, this situation could become reality," Russian news agencies quoted him as saying.

The U.S. military said last week that it was reviewing strategy in Baghdad, where U.S. reinforcements have failed to halt spiraling violence.

(Reuters, AP)