U.S. Military Offers $50,000 Reward in Search for Missing Translator

The U.S. government offered a $50,000 reward Saturday for information leading to the recovery of an Iraqi-born American Army translator kidnapped in Baghdad almost three weeks ago.

Ahmed Qusai al-Taayie, a 41-year-old reserve soldier from Ann Arbor, Mich., was abducted by gunmen on Oct. 23 while visiting his Iraqi wife at her family's home. His whereabouts remain unknown despite an extensive search operation.

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The U.S. military has acknowledged "an ongoing dialogue" to win al-Taayie's release, but didn't say with whom or at what level.

His uncle said last week that the kidnappers are demanding $250,000 in ransom but that he has asked for proof his nephew was alive and well before entering negotiations.

Al-Taayie, whose name is also spelled Ahmed Kousay Altaie, was born in Iraq and moved to the United States as a teenager. He joined the Army Reserve in December 2004 and was deployed to Iraq in November 2005.

Saturday's announcement said U.S. forces had received over 300 tips from Iraqis on al-Taayie, but made no indication that any of those had produced solid leads.

Al-Taayie's uncle, Entifadh Qanbar, has said he believed his nephew's abductors belong to a "well organized" rogue cell from the Shiite Mahdi Army militia of anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

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