Iraqi Chamber of Commerce Head Kidnapped

Gunmen kidnapped the head of the Iraq's chamber of commerce near his office in downtown Baghdad (search), his neighbors and employees said Thursday.

Abboud al-Tufaili (search) was kidnapped in central the Salhiyah neighborhood Wednesday, one of his employees said on condition of anonymity. The employee spoke from Najaf, where al-Tufaili lives.

It was not clear if the kidnapping is politically motivated or was for ransom.

Al-Tufaili, a well-known businessman, owns several hotels in Najaf.

Since the fall of Saddam Hussein's (search) government last year, hundreds of Iraqis have been kidnapped and later released after paying ransom.