Jebbar Jabr Solagh was abducted at 7.30pm (1530 GMT) as he drove home to the capital's district of Sadr City, where he also works as a hospital director, Major Felah Al-Mohammedawi, a ministry spokesman said.

 

Solagh is the brother of Interior Minister Bayan Jabr Solagh, the head of Iraq's police forces.

 

"I didn't hear about it, and I have no information," Jabr, the minister, told reporters in Amman as he emerged from a meeting with his Jordanian counterpart.

 

An hour before Solagh was abducted, armed men in the town of Taji, north of Baghdad, kidnapped Firas Marid, the son of a brigadier-general who heads the office of tribal affairs in the interior ministry, al-Mohammedawi said.

 

The abduction comes amid a wave of violence which has gripped the capital ahead of the 15 October national referendum on Iraq's new constitution.

 

Al-Qaida

 

Earlier in an exclusive interview with Aljazeera, Minister Solagh said the Iraqi government had obtained documents indicating that the al-Qaida network was considering leaving Iraq.

 

Solagh said a letter written by Abu Azzam to al-Zarqawi, obtained during the recent Tal Afar operation, showed al-Qaida was contemplating moving to neighbouring countries.