Lebanon arrests three over abducted Turkish pilots

Lebanon arrests three over abducted Turkish pilots

BEIRUT - Agence France-Presse
Lebanon arrests three over abducted Turkish pilots

ebanese army troops patrol the airport road on the southern outskirts of Beirut on Aug. 9, following the kidnapping by gunmen early in the morning of two pilots working for Turkish Airlines on the road leading to the airport. AFP photo

Lebanese authorities have arrested three suspects and charged them in connection with the abduction of two Turkish Airlines pilots, a judicial source told AFP on Aug. 17.

The suspects, whose identity was not revealed, underwent an initial round of interrogation and their case has been referred to the prosecutor general, the source said.

They "have been charged and were interrogated by a deputy prosecutor who issued arrest warrants against them," the source added, without giving further details.

On August 9, gunmen ambushed a bus carrying Turkish Airlines crew from Beirut's international airport to a hotel in the city, and snatched the pilot and co-pilot.

A previously unknown group calling itself Zuwwar Imam al-Rida claimed the abduction, and demanded that Turkey use its influence with Syrian rebels it backs to secure the release of nine Lebanese Shiites kidnapped in Syria in May 2012.

The pilots were seized just outside the airport, in an area controlled by the powerful Shiite Lebanese movement Hezbollah. Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah has denied any involvement in the kidnapping.