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Yemen: Nour-Ahmad Nikbakht, Iranian embassy worker, kidnapped

It's the latest in a string of foreigner kidnappings in Yemen.

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A Yemeni man stands on a rock on February 1, 2012 overlooking a village in Wadi Ahjar, some 50 kms northwest of Sanaa. (Muhammed Huwais/AFP/Getty Images)

An Iranian embassy worker was kidnapped by armed men in Yemen’s capital Sanaa on Sunday, police sources told Reuters.

The kidnappers seized the man near the embassy in the southwestern neighborhood of Hadda. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the abduction.

In Tehran, foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Araqchi told the ISNA news agency that the man is a member of the embassy’s administrative staff named Nour-Ahmad Nikbakht.

It’s the first time an Iranian has been abducted in Yemen. However, hundreds of people have been kidnapped in Yemen over the past 15 years, Agence France-Presse reported. Most were freed unharmed.

Islamist militants and disgruntled tribesmen often take foreigners hostage so they can bargain with the government to free jailed comrades or improve public services, Reuters reported.

Al Qaeda militants have been holding a Saudi diplomat based in Aden since March 2012 and a South African couple since May.

A Dutch couple that disappeared in Yemen in June recently released a video saying their captors were threatening to kill them if they did not receive the concessions they had requested.

More from GlobalPost: Dutch hostages plead for lives in Yemen video

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/iran/130721/yemen-nour-ahmad-nikbakht-iranian-embassy-worker-kidna