Iraq: Two Lebanese kidnapped as talks continue for release of seven hostages
Two Lebanese businessmen have been kidnapped in Iraq by an unidentified Islamist group, Lebanese foreign ministry sources said Sunday.
"The two men have business in Iraq and they are identified as Antoine Antoun and Valdo Khalaat," the sources said.
"Our charge d'affaires in Baghdad is working to find out the whereabouts of the two men and with which group they are held," the sources said.
Meanwhile, a self-styled tribal mediator said negotiations to broker the release of seven foreign truckers being held hostage by Islamists in Iraq were expected to continue.
"We're hoping to hold another round of negotiations today with the Kwuaitis," said Sheikh Hisham al-Dulaimi on the sidelines of a ceremony to welcome dozens of released Iraqi prisoners, mostly from Abu Ghraib jail.
The three Indian, three Kenyan and one Egyptian hostage, working for a Kuwaiti haulage firm, were snatched 11 days ago by the previously unknown Islamic Secret Army - Holders of the Black Banners group.
Dulaimi said he was expected to make contact with special Indian envoy, Talmiz Ahmad, in Baghdad later Sunday.
New Delhi rushed its Muscat ambassador to Iraq in a bid to secure the safe release of its citizens.
The kidnappers had issued a "last chance" for the Kuwaiti employer and governments of the seven to capitulate to their demands. They have threatened to start executing their captives at 1500 GMT Saturday.
Dulaimi has said Kuwait and Gulf Link Transport had agreed to end its operations in Iraq and compensate 250 victims of US military action in Fallujah. However, the kidnappers had also demanded that Iraqi prisoners in Kuwaiti and US-run detention centres be freed. (Albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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