An Iraqi journalist working as a reporter and photographer for the Associated Press (AP) in Baquba, the capital of Diyala province, was kidnapped more than a week ago, an Iraqi watchdog said on Wednesday.
Talal Mohammad, 40, has been kidnapped by gunmen in Diyala province for at least a week, the Journalistic Freedom Observatory (JFO) said in a statement.
It said that the kidnapping occurred on July 28 when he was travelling with his friend in a bus bound to Baghdad from Baquba, 65 km northeast of the Iraqi capital.
Masked gunmen manning a faked checkpoint in an area outside Baghdad intercepted the journalist's bus and abducted Mohammad and his friend, the statement quoted Mohammad's family as saying.
The family learned of the abduction from his friend who was later released and asked not be named.
The AP said it was not clear whether Mohammad was kidnapped just because he is working for a U.S. media. But Iraqi journalists working for both local and international media are frequently killed or kidnapped by unknown gunmen in the war-torn country.
The U.S. news agency said that five of its employees have been killed in Iraq, three of them since last December.
About 235 Iraqi media workers have been killed in Iraq since the U.S.-led Iraqi war broke out in 2003, according to the Iraqi Union of Journalists in Baghdad.
The Paris-based media watchdog, Reporters Without Borders, describes the dangers journalists have faced in Iraq since the outbreak of the war the bloodiest for the media since World War II.