Police and station officials said on Thursday that Reem Zaid, 23, and her colleague Marwan Khaza'al, 25, were returning to the offices of Sumariya TV in Baghdad on Wednesday after attending a press conference when they were kidnapped by gunmen.

A station official who spoke on condition of anonymity said: "They were in a car with two cameramen and their driver when another car blocked them. The five gunmen took the correspondents and their car and left the two cameramen." 
   
Many Iraqi media outlets are also controlled by various political factions inside and outside the government, but the Sumariya official said that the station was privately owned by Iraqis and had no links to any political group.
   
"We are a neutral channel, we are not linked to the government," she said. 

Appeal
   

"We condemn the continued targeting of all innocent civilians, including journalists, and appeal to those holding them to free them at once"

Ann Cooper, the CPJ executive director

In New York, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said it was alarmed by the report of the abductions.
   
Ann Cooper, the CPJ executive director, said in a statement: "We condemn the continued targeting of all innocent civilians, including journalists, and appeal to those holding them to free them at once".
   
She said armed groups had kidnapped at least 37 other journalists in Iraq since April 2004; most had been freed but six had been killed.
   
Jill Carroll, an American reporter who was abducted by gunmen in Baghdad on 7 January, is still being held hostage.

Her kidnappers have threatened to kill her unless women detainees held by US forces and the Iraqi interior ministry are freed.