BEIRUT: The son of the owner of a well-known herbal remedies company kidnapped last week was released over the weekend in east Lebanon.
The National News Agency said a mediator managed to help secure the safety of Ibrahim al-Atat, the son of Zein al-Atat. Al-Atat’s son was set free by the kidnappers near Hawsh Tal Safieh in Baalbek.
Al-Atat was kidnapped on June 21 by gunmen near the highway to the Bekaa Valley.
Security sources said al-Atat was driving his Hummer between the villages of Sofar and Mdeirej when a four-wheel-drive vehicle intercepted him at nighttime.
Three gunmen emerged from the four-wheel-drive, and forced Atat to step out of the vehicle before abducting him. They did not take the two other men in his car, Wael Abdul-Khaleq and Atat’s cousin Mahmoud al-Atat.
The sources said that the kidnappers drove off in the direction of Beirut.
Mahmoud al-Atat told a local television station that his cousin’s kidnappers claimed to be Army Intelligence personnel, adding that their faces were not covered.
According to local media, Zein al-Atat denied that any ransom had been paid to secure his son’s release.
Kidnappings have become increasingly common in recent weeks.
In one incident in mid-June, a Lebanese Army soldier was abducted from Beirut’s southern suburbs, taken to the Bekaa, and released a few hours later.