Search operations were under way Monday for three Americans kidnapped from a "suspicious apartment" in Baghdad, in a rare abduction of Western nationals in the Iraqi capital. Kidnappers in Iraq have recently seized groups of Qataris and Turks, but it has been years since Americans were abducted, with Iraqis suffering the most from kidnappings for ransoms or to settle scores. The Islamic State group, which overran large areas in 2014, has abducted thousands of people in Iraq, while Shiite paramilitary forces opposed to the jihadists have also carried out kidnappings.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Sunday heralded the release of Americans held prisoner in Iran and the full implementation of a historic nuclear accord with the Islamic Republic, holding both up as a victory for "smart" diplomacy and fulfillment of his pledge to deal directly with enemies of the United States.
By John Whitesides CHARLESTON, S.C. - Tightening polls and rising tensions between White House rivals Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders could fuel a fiery Democratic debate on Sunday, their last face-to-face encounter until Iowa kicks off the presidential nominating race in two weeks. The leading Democratic contenders stepped up their attacks on each other during the past week, battling over guns, healthcare and Wall Street with growing intensity as polls showed Sanders gaining ground on Clinton in key states. Clinton, Sanders and former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, who lags badly in polls, will participate in the 9 p.m. EST debate, the fourth between the Democratic contenders.
By Lesley Wroughton and Sam Wilkin VIENNA/DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran emerged from years of economic isolation on Saturday when world powers began to lift crippling sanctions against the Islamic Republic in return for Tehran complying with a deal to curb its nuclear ambitions. In a dramatic move scheduled to coincide with the scrapping of the sanctions, Tehran also announced the release of five Americans including Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian as part of a prisoner swap with the United States. Together, the lifting of sanctions and the prisoner deal considerably reduce the hostility between Tehran and Washington that has shaped the Middle East since Iran's Islamic Revolution of 1979.