BAGHDAD, Iraq – A French-American journalist has disappeared along with his Iraqi translator in the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah, the provincial deputy governor said Monday.
The two went missing Friday in Nasiriyah as they were walking through a busy market, said Adnan al-Shoraify, deputy governor of Dhi Qar province. He said the translator's family had first reported the two missing.
According to its Web site, the group is a "documentary organization working in still photography, video and print media" that is working in Iraq. The Web site says Garen is one of the organization's managers, and shows a portfolio of his photos from Iraq.
Al-Shoraify said Garen was working on a project involving antiquities near Nasiriyah.
In New Haven, Conn., Garen's father Alan said the 33-year-old had been working in Iraq for about two months as a freelance journalist. He couldn't confirm his son was missing, saying only that "I haven't heard anything for several days."
The pan-Arab television station Al-Jazeera also reported the journalist missing on Monday, but said he had been kidnapped and provided no other details. Al-Shoraify could not confirm whether he was abducted.
Garen was reportedly a citizen of both France and the United States, al-Shoraify said.
The report could not be independently confirmed.
A spokesman for Italian forces deployed in Nasiriyah, about 200 miles southeast of Baghdad, said he was looking into the report.
A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Bob Callahan, said he had heard through the media of the reports, but could not confirm them. "We too are aware of it and are investigating," he said.
In Paris, the French Foreign Ministry also said it had no information but was investigating.
Militants in the southern Iraqi city of Basra kidnapped British journalist James Brandon (search) on Friday. They had threatened to kill the 23-year-old, but released him after aides to militant Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr (search) demanded he be freed.