Gunmen have kidnapped three relatives of Iraqi interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi.A spokesman for the prime minister confirms Mr. Allawi's 75-year-old cousin Ghazi Allawi, the cousin's wife, and the cousin's daughter-in-law were seized Tuesday night from their Baghdad home.
A statement posted on a Web site says a previously unknown militant group Ansar al-Jihad claimed responsibility for abducting the three. The group threatened to behead them in 48 hours unless Mr. Allawi halts the US-led assault on Fallujah and frees all Iraqi prisoners. The authenticity of the statement could not be confirmed.
Mr. Allawi's spokesman called the kidnappings an act of terrorism and said it would not affect the prime minister's actions against terrorists.