New demands issued for Lebanese hostages

Published November 1st, 2014 - 04:00 GMT

Islamist militants holding at least 27 Lebanese soldiers and policemen hostage have given the Qatari-appointed mediator a new, partial list of demands, a source involved in the negotiations to free the servicemen said Friday.

“There are new, but limited demands by the captors,” the source told The Daily Star.

The source declined to give details, saying the mediator's mission “is shrouded in secrecy.”

It has been widely reported that the key demand of the kidnappers has been the release of Islamist prisoners held in Roumieh jail in exchange for the captives.

The source, nevertheless, said secrecy itself is likely to be a good sign that negotiations were on the right track.

The Qatari-chosen envoy, Syrian Ahmad al-Khatib, led a convoy of six trucks carrying humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees in the northeastern border town of Arsal Thursday.

Sources following up on the hostage crisis told The Daily Star Thursday that the negotiator met with the captors holding the servicemen on the outskirts of Arsal.

Jihadists belonging to ISIS and Nusra Front fought five days of gunbattles with the Lebanese Army in August. As they retreated, they took with them dozens of soldiers and policemen captive.

They have so far released seven and killed three.

The hostage families Thursday also postponed for 48 hours a planned escalation in protests, pending the results of the ongoing negotiations.


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