Lebanese Internal security authorities released Sheikh Orfan Maarabouni, who was arrested yesterday in Barelias, Bekaaa region by an Intelligence Bureau patrol, after investigations showed he had nothing to do with the kidnap of the Estonians.
7 Estonians were kidnapped in the Bekaa region in Lebanon, shortly after leaving the Masnaa border crossing between Lebanon and Syria.
A previously unheard of group claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of the Estonians in Lebanon through an email sent to Lebanon Files website along with copies of the ID cards of three of those abducted. Lebanon Files website chief told AFP last Thursday.
“We received an email late yesterday and we informed the proper authorities,” said Rabih Haber, Lebanon Files chief adding “The authorities gave us permission to publish the email.”
The previously unheard of group, Haraket El Nahda Wal Islah (the Movement for Renaissance and Reform) said the Estonians were in good condition and that it would make known its demands at a later stage
The three IDs shown on the website were those of Kalev Kaosaar, August Tillo and Madis Paluoja. The other kidnapped were identified by authorities as Priit Raistik, Jaan Jagomagi, Andre Pukk and Martin Metspalu. All are in their 30s and early 40s.
The seven were abducted at gunpoint in a white van (picture) in the town of Zahle on March 23 after entering Lebanon through Syria on their bicycles.
Maj. Gen. Ashraf Rifi, the head of the Lebanese Internal Security Forces who ordered several raids in the area where the kidnapping took place is reportedly of the opinion that the kidnapped Estonians are no longer in Lebanon. Many believe that the Estonians are back in Syria