BEIRUT: Nine Lebanese nationals recently released after over a yaer held hostage in Syria for over 16 months arrived at Beirut airport Saturday night.
“We paid a hefty price,” one of the released hostages, holding a cane in one hand, told reporters on the runway minutes after the plane taxied to a stop at around 10.45 p.m..
“The war is against the Shiites,” he said, voicing thanks to Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah and Speaker Nabih Berri.
On May 22, 2012, eleven Shiite Lebanese were kidnapped near the Aleppo District of Azaz by a Syrian rebel group on their way from a pilgrimage in Iran. Two were released in the following months.
General Security chief Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim, who announced the release of the remaining pilgrims Friday night, took charge of the nine in Turkey Saturday.
“Congratulations to Lebanon, not just the hostages,” Ibrahim, the man tasked with following up on the case, told reporters after leaving the plane.
One of the released hostages denied a ransom had been paid to secure their release.
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