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Italian official offers condolences over slain Lebanese soldier

Italian Defense Commission head Nicola Latorre, left, offers condolences to the father of a slain Lebanese soldier in Fnaydeq, north Lebanon, on Friday, Sept.5, 2014. (The Daily Star/NNA/HO)

BEIRUT: Italy will stand by Lebanon as it works to resolve the hostage crisis, Italian Defense Commission head Nicola Latorre pledged Friday as he visited the family of slain soldier Ali al-Sayyed, who was beheaded by ISIS last month.

During his visit to Sayyed's house in the northern town of Fnaydeq, Latorre said Islam stood against terrorism, expressing his country's support for Lebanon and the Army in the face of the growing threat.

"We are following up on the Lebanese government's efforts in the hostage crisis and we are ready to offer any help that would end this case."

Sayyed's father, Ahmad, thanked the Italian official for his visit, saying: "I hope you can help secure the release of the rest of the captured soldiers."

Earlier this week, ISIS handed over the body of Sayyed to the government after the group beheaded the soldier in a bid to pressure negotiations in their favor. Sayyed was among at least 15 soldiers and policemen who ISIS captured during battles with the Lebanese Army last month in the border town of Arsal.

ISIS and Nusra Front attacked Army and police posts with the aim of seizing the town, known for its support for the Syrian opposition.

An ISIS-affiliated man released an image of the soldiers, saying the group was sharpening its knife with a caption that read: “Are you going to negotiate or not?”

Thousands attended Sayyed’s funeral Wednesday in his hometown, while families of the rest of the soldiers held protests in several parts of the country, demanding the government negotiate with militants to release their loved ones.

 

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