BEIRUT, Lebanon – Gunmen in Iraq have abducted a 7-year-old Lebanese boy and are demanding $150,000 for his release, Lebanon's official news agency reported Sunday.
The boy, identified as Mohammed Hamad (search), was kidnapped two days ago on his way home from school in the Diyala province east of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, the state-run National News Agency said. The boy's father, Abdel-Ghani Hamad, has lived in Iraq for 30 years.
The Lebanese Embassy in Baghdad was aware of the ransom demand and the Lebanese charge d'affaires in Iraq, Hassan Hijazi, was trying to secure the child's release, the report said.
Foreign Ministry officials could not be reached Sunday.
Insurgents in Iraq have kidnapped more than 150 foreigners. Most have been kidnapped for ransom and freed unharmed, but at least 30 — including several Americans — have been killed in a violent campaign to drive out coalition forces and hamper reconstruction efforts.
Three other Lebanese are believed to be held hostage in Iraq. One other Lebanese — 26-year-old construction worker Hussein Ali Alyan — was killed. His body was found June 12.
Hundreds of Lebanese, mainly construction workers and industrialists, went to Iraq looking for opportunities in the massive postwar reconstruction.