Calling itself al-Ghadhab al-IIlahi (Divine Wrath), the Iraqi group said it had seized Major-General Salah Hassan Zaidan al-Lami, an in-law of Iraqi al-Shaalan's.

Another unidentified relative was also seized.

The captors called for halting military operations in Najaf and the release of Muqtada al-Sadr aide, Ali al-Sumaisim who was arrested by Iraqi police earlier on Wednesday.