BEIRUT: Lebanon Grand Mufti Mohammad Rashid Qabbani called Monday for the release of the recently kidnapped Turkish Airlines pilots in Beirut as well as the Lebanese who have been held hostage in Syria since May 2012.
“[Qabbani] called for all the hostages, whether they be the Turkish pilot and his co-pilot or the Lebanese [hostages] in Azaz [Syria] or inter-Lebanese kidnappings,” the Muslim preacher said, according to the National News Agency.
“The kidnapping of people, whoever the people might be, and regardless of the kidnapping side is an act that we denounce and reject, considering it the forced detention of innocents,” Qabbani said.
“The kidnappings of nationals other than Lebanese goes beyond internal issues and touches on the ties between the Lebanese state and other states,” he added.
He urged the government to expend all its resources toward securing the release “of the Turkish hostages and all the Lebanese hostages in Azaz out of concern for the internal and external repercussions that endanger Lebanon.”
Gunmen kidnapped dawn Friday two Turkish Airlines pilots moments after they departed Beirut’s international airport.
A manhunt is under way for the kidnappers.