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The Daily Star
MONDAY, 21 APR 2014
06:15 PM Beirut time
20 °C
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Lebanese kidnapped in Syria back in Beirut: agency
Agence France Presse
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BEIRUT: A Lebanese Shiite pilgrim who was abducted in Syria in May arrived back in Beirut on Wednesday, state media reported.

The National News Agency identified him as Awad Ibrahim and said he flew in to "Rafiq Hariri International Airport in Beirut, accompanied by two officers."

Ibrahim was set free a month after another Lebanese hostage, Hussein Ali Omar, arrived in Turkey from Syria.

Eleven Lebanese Shiite pilgrims were kidnapped on May 22 in the northern province of Aleppo, while returning from Iran.

"Our happiness cannot be complete until the return of all the hostages," NNA reported Interior Minister Marwan Charbel as saying.

Charbel added that he has asked the Turkish authorities "to do their utmost to release the hostages, but that the situation is not easy," the agency said.

The abductions were claimed by a group whose leader identified himself as Abu Ibrahim. The group claims affiliation with the rebel Free Syrian Army, which denies any such link.

Activists say the climate of chaos that has gripped Syria for the past 18 months has enabled all sides of the conflict to profit from the situation, whether their goals are political or merely financial.

"Abu Ibrahim is not a fighter, he is a criminal using the revolt to make money," an Aleppo province resident calling himself Abu Mohammed told AFP via Skype.

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