Hostages' families block key Beirut roadway in protest
Nursra Front has been holding the Lebanese hostages for several months, following clashes in Arsal, and have demanded hefty prisoner swap deals to secure their release. (AFP/File)
Families of the 26 servicemen held hostage by jihadists on the Syria border blocked a vital road in the capital Friday to press the government to find a speedy solution to free their loved ones.
The protesters faced off against dozens of policemen before they were able to form a human chain to block Charles Helou Highway, which leads from Karantina into Downtown Beirut, in both directions.
Dozens of riot police stood watch as the fathers, mothers and siblings of the kidnapped servicemen sat with their legs crossed on both sides of the highway that leads to the offices of local newspaper An-Nahar in Downtown Beirut.
The Nusra Front threatened Thursday to execute one of the 26 captives being held by Islamist militants on the northeast border unless Lebanon released a female terror suspect within 24 hours.
“This is the final warning for negotiations to start seriously or else we will carry out the death sentence against one of the captives we are holding in 24 hours,” Nusra said in a tweet.
Prime Minister Tammam Salam had reaffirmed Thursday the government’s staunch commitment to secure the liberation of captive servicemen, rejecting any comparison of their case to that of the Hezbollah fighter who was recently liberated by Syrian rebels.
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