Lebanese army frees four Syrian hostages: kidnappers

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 11, 2012 2:41 AM
Lebanese army frees four Syrian hostages: kidnappers

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanese security forces freed four Syrian hostages in a raid in Beirut against a powerful Shi'ite clan which kidnapped them last month, a member of the clan said on Tuesday.

A Turkish hostage was wounded, and remained in captivity, Maher Meqdad, a spokesman for the Meqdad clan told Reuters. "We were told that the Turk was shot and wounded, either in his chest or shoulder," he said.

A security source said four people had been freed in the overnight raid in the south of the Lebanese capital, but did not confirm the report about the Turkish captive.

Meqdad said that members of his family had told him that

The raids started at 11 p.m. on Monday night and lasted until 4 a.m, Meqdad said, citing members of his family. "Four houses of the Meqdad clan were targeted. A number of the family were arrested," he said.

The clan said it abducted more than 20 people, including a Turkish national, in mid-August in response to the capture of one of its kinsmen in Damascus by Syrian rebels trying to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The family later released all the hostage apart from four Syrian nationals and the Turk.

The kidnappings and sporadic clashes in Lebanon between pro- and anti-Assad factions have fuelled fears that the Syria conflict could trigger more instability in the neighboring country, where Damascus has had a major influence for decades.

(Reporting by Dominic Evans; Editing by John Stonestreet)