Lebanese captive in Iraq freed

Muhammad Raad, the last Lebanese to be seized in Iraq, has been freed and is reportedly in the hands of the Lebanese embassy in Baghdad.

    Muhammad Raad (seated) was seized on 16 August

    "I spoke to Muhammad Raad on the phone this morning," said the Lebanese Foreign Minister Jean Obaid said in Beirut on Wednesday.

     

    "He is in good health and at the embassy in Baghdad in the company of the charge d'affaires Ali Hijazi."

      

    Raad, 27, was captured on 16 August by a group calling itself the Islamic Movement of Holy Warriors in Iraq, Saif al-Islam Brigades.

      

    A video on Tuesday showed Raad in captivity. In it the captors said he was being freed "in response to an appeal from the Association of Muslim Scholars", an influential Iraqi organisation.

     

    Captors' tribute

      

    Reiterating their accusations that Raad had worked for US-led troops in Iraq, they called on the Lebanese people to "stop their fellow citizens collaborating with the occupation forces".

      

    "Their (Lebanon's) cause is the same as ours, we are all one family"

    captors of Muhammad Raad

    The captors paid tribute to the Lebanese people "who repulsed the Zionist army", a reference to the Israeli withdrawal from the country more than four years ago under pressure from the resistance group Hizb Allah,

     

    "Their cause is the same as ours, we are all one family," they added.

      

    Raad's release means no Lebanese are still held in Iraq. Two other Lebanese and a Syrian were freed on 17 August.

      

    Since the start of the abductions in Iraq last spring, about 15 Lebanese have been seized and most have been released after a ransom was paid.

      

    However, one man, Husayn Ulayyan, working for a telecommunications company, had his throat cut by his captors in June.

    SOURCE: AFP


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