Kidnapped pilots still alive in Lebanon - Turkish gov't
A composite of two undated file pictures obtained from the Turkish Ihlas news agency shows Turkish Airlines pilot Murat Akpinar (R) and his co-pilot Murat Agca, kidnapped on August 9, 2013 in Beirut. (IHLAS NEWS AGENCY / IHA / AFP)
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Turkey said Monday the two pilots kidnapped in Beirut earlier this month are alive, and that it knows roughly where they are.
"Their whereabouts are more or less known. We know that they are alive, in peace and comfort," Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc told reporters after a cabinet meeting.
"I hope we will reach them soon," he added.
Meanwhile, Turkey's Anatolia news agency said Monday that the kidnapped pilot and copilot were transferred to two different places rights after their abduction.
“The pilot is in Baalbeck's al-Sharawina neighborhood while his copilot is the town of Zawtar (in the southern Nabatiyeh province),” it detailed
The same source noted: “The copilot was detained for few days in the southern suburbs of Beirut and was later transferred to Zawtar on Thursday.”
Informed sources told Anatolia that two Cherokee four-wheel jeeps were used in the kidnapping and that both vehicles carried the same number plates.
The Turkish Airlines pilots were kidnapped on August 9 when gunmen ambushed a bus carrying the national airliner's crew from Beirut airport to a hotel in the city.
Three people were arrested on Saturday over their alleged involvement in the kidnapping, the state-run National News Agency reported.
And on Thursday, four people were summoned for investigation over their links to the abduction.
Caretaker Interior Minister Marwan Charbel had told al-Joumhouria newspaper that the individuals are relatives and friends of the Lebanese pilgrims held in Syria's Aazaz region.
He revealed that their names were divulged by Mohammed Saleh, another relative of the pilgrims who was arrested on Sunday over his links to the pilots' kidnapping.