Turkish pilot hostages shown in pre-Eid video
Turkish Airlines pilots Murat Akpinar (L) and Murat Agca, who were kidnapped in Beirut in August 2013. [AFP]
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Two Turkish pilots held hostage in Lebanon appeared in good health on a video tape aired Tuesday by the local television channel LBCI.
“Today is Oct. 14, one day before [Eid al-Adha]. I would like to return to my home. I’m fine,” said Murat Akpinar, one of the two Turkish Airlines pilots kidnapped in August.
His co-pilot, Murat Agca, reassured his family that he was also doing well.
“I’m safe and sound. I miss my family, my children and my country,” Agca said.
Both men appeared in the 30-second video, sporting medium beards.
Akpinar and Agca were kidnapped on the Beirut airport highway on Aug. 9 as they headed to a hotel in the capital.
A group calling itself Zuwwar al-Imam Ali al-Reda claimed responsibility for the abduction, demanding the release of nine Shiite pilgrims who have been held by Syrian rebels since May 2012.
The nine pilgrims were among 11 Lebanese kidnapped by a Syrian opposition group in the Azaz district of Aleppo. Only two have been released.
Positive signs emerged last week that the nine Lebanese hostages would be released soon. Their release could see the release of the two kidnapped Turkish pilots.
Lebanon’s General Security chief Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim has been tasked with resolving both cases and has been traveling to Damascus, Doha and Ankara for mediations.
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