BEIRUT - A Syrian citizen in eastern Lebanon was kidnapped by unknown gunmen on Thursday morning, taking to 11 the number of abductions inside Lebanese borders in one day.
|Masked gunmen from the al-Mokdad tribe, gather at the al-Mokdad family's association headquarters in the southern suburbs in Beirut. REUTERS|
NNA named the man as Hussam Khashroum and said the gunmen opened fire on his car, which was parked outside Chtaura hospital in the Bekaa valley.
Earlier on Thursday, the Mukhtar al-Thaqfi Brigade announced it had kidnapped five Syrians in Beirut and another five in the Bekaa.
A spokesperson for the group accused the men of being members of the Free Syrian Army.
“We've started our operations in Beirut and the Bekaa, and every day we will hold something new,” the spokesperson told television network LBC.
“Any person that appears to support the Free Syrian Army will be a target of ours,” he added.
The abductions come just one day after the Lebanese al-Mokdad tribe kidnapped more than 20 Syrians and a Turkish national in response to the abduction of their relative in Syria by rebels.
On Thursday the family warned Lebanon's foreign minister that the Turkish hostage, Toufan Teyken, would be their first victim should their kidnapped relative in Syria, Hassan al-Mokdad, be killed.
A meeting took place on Thursday between the Mokdad tribe and Mansour, with the tribe rejecting a plea from the foreign minister to free the Turkish hostage.
"We will not release the Turkish hostage," the family reportedly told Mansour, according to al-Jadeed TV.
Turkey's foreign ministry said Ankara was making "intensive efforts" to secure the release of the Turkish businessman.
The Mokdad clan also extended their threats to Qatari and Saudi nationals in Lebanon.
Armed, dressed in army fatigues, and wearing masks, tribe members displayed their captives on Lebanese television on Wednesday, warning that more measures will be undertaken unless their relative is released.
On Thursday a spokesperson for the Mokdad tribe said it had ended it was not planning any further kidnappings.
“Kidnapping operations will end in the next few hours, because we have a great treasure of Syrians to negotiate with,” family spokesperson Maher al-Mokdad said.
He added that no Gulf nationals were targeted during the spate of kidnappings, contrary to widespread reports of the capture of Saudi and Qatari nationals.
Qatar urged its citizens to leave Lebanon immediately on Wednesday, its state news agency reported.
"Due to the unstable security situation, Qatar's embassy in Beirut has urged Qatari nationals to leave Lebanon immediately," the news agency said.
Saudi Arabia also urged its citizens to leave "immediately."
Both the Mukhtar al-Thaqfi Brigade and the Mokdad tribe, although Shi'a Muslim, have no affiliation to either Hizbullah or Amal, Lebanon's two main Shi'a factions.
-TAAN, Al-Akhbar, NNA, AFP