Two Arsal residents kidnapped by family of abducted Lebanese soldier
The Lebanese army has been engaged in fierce battles with Islamic State militants at the border. (AFP/File)
Two Arsal locals were kidnapped late night Saturday by a relative of one of eleven soldiers held captive by Islamic State militants, who demanded the release of his abducted relative in return for the newly kidnapped citizens.
Engineer Abdullah al-Baridi and Hussein Hasan Fliti, two Arsal locals of Lebanese nationality, were kidnapped late night Saturday in different locations and were later transferred to the village of Hor Taala in Baalbek.
Hasan Fliti, who is a member of Baalbek dance group, was stopped near the town of Bidnayel, along with his entire dance crew.
The source said that anonymous armed groups stopped the van that was carrying Fliti and his colleagues, seizing three of them.
The two other individuals who were kidnapped alongside Fliti were released overnight Saturday, while Fliti remained captive,
Abdullah al-Baridi was stopped by armed groups on a road in Baalbek near the town of Majdaloun.
The source said that the armed group was stopping cars along the road, asking whether the passengers were Sunni or Shiite.
Security sources told The Daily Star that Hussein al-Masri, a relative of kidnaped Army soldier Ali al-Masri, was responsible for both kidnappings.
According to the source, over fifty arrest warrants had been previously issued against Hussein al-Masri.
Masri said that he would not free the two hostages before one of his relatives is freed by IS, who are still holding at least eight Army soldiers captured during clashes that erupted in Arsal last month.
Masri announced Sunday that if kidnapped soldier Ali al-Masri was harmed by his captors, then the two kidnapped locals would meet the same fate.
It remains unknown why the kidnapping targeted the two individuals specifically, as security sources could not confirm a link between the victims and militants who hold security personnel captive.