Iraqi CBS translator abducted, killed

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NEW YORK -- An Iraqi translator for CBS News was abducted from his home and later killed, the network said Monday.

Anwar Abbas Lafta was kidnapped Aug. 20 and was missing for several days until his body was found Saturday along a road in the Sadr City neighborhood. Abbas was buried Monday in Najaf, the network said.

The kidnapping and death had not been made public, with CBS News asking other news organizations to not cover it to make sure that there was a chance to get Abbas home safely. But those hopes were dashed over the weekend.

Abbas had returned home from the CBS News bureau in Baghdad when eight to 10 armed men stormed into his house. They beat his brother and shot his sister in the arm before taking him captive. At least two ransom calls were made to the family last week as family members searched for Abbas at morgues and police stations. Iraqi police called Abbas' cousin Saturday and told him that a body matching Abbas' description was found in north Sadr City.

Abbas was in his early 50s and unmarried, the network said. He had worked for CBS News for 10 months and was a translator for the U.S. military for three years before that.

It is the third death of a CBS News employee in Iraq in less than two years. On May 29, 2006, soundman James Brolan and cameraman Paul Douglas were killed in an bomb attack in Baghdad that killed a U.S. Army captain and his translator and severely wounded a number of others, including correspondent Kimberly Dozier.

CBS News president Sean McManus sent his sympathies to the family.

"This is not the first time the CBS News family has suffered the worst loss possible, the life of a colleague," McManus said. "We certainly hope it is the last, but the pain and sorrow will be with us and his family for a very long time."
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