Man Arrested for Involvement in Lebanon Kidnapping

The hostages, after their release. Photo: Postimees/Scanpix
3/15/2012 5:10 PM

A Lebanese man was arrested Tuesday in connection to the kidnapping of seven Estonian tourists in the Bekaa Valley a year ago.

The Lebanese Army arrested Mohammad Tufiq al-Hujeiri, who confessed during an interrogation that he provided food for the kidnappers and hostages, the Daily Star reported.

Hujeiri said the task had been assigned by Hussein al-Hujairi, a prime suspect in the ongoing case.

In March 2011, seven Estonian men were kidnapped during a cycling trip in Lebanon's eastern Bekaa Valley. They were released unharmed in the same area last July. The Estonians said that they had been held in both Lebanon and Syria.

Since the release, Lebanese authorities have arrested more than 15 people in connection with the case, but Estonian authorities have not yet been notified of any convictions. And at least two suspects, one Syrian and one Lebanese, were killed in a shootout with security forces.

Estonian officials remain tight-lipped on the subject of whether any ransom was paid to secure the men's release. But the French publication Intelligence Online reported that Estonia paid a 5 million US dollar ransom for their freedom.


Ott Tammik

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