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Published October 18, 2013, 03:37 PM

Lebanese Shiite pilgrims kidnapped in Syria freed

BEIRUT (AP) - A senior Lebanese security official says nine Shiite pilgrims kidnapped in Syria are now "in safe hands."

By: Bassem Mroue, Associated Press

BEIRUT (AP) - A senior Lebanese security official says nine Shiite pilgrims kidnapped in Syria are now "in safe hands."

The official, who spoke to The Associated Press late Friday, declined to give any other details. He spoke on condition of anonymity as he wasn't authorized to release the information publicly.

In May 2012, a rebel faction in northern Syria took hostage 11 Lebanese Shiites who had been on a bus tour of religious sites in the area.

The commander of the brigade, Ammar al-Dadikhli, told The Associated Press last September that he was holding them captive to try to force Lebanon's Shiite militant group Hezbollah to stop supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime.

Syria's rebels are predominantly Sunnis, and are widely supported by Lebanon's own Sunni community. Two of the hostages were later released with Turkey's assistance.


Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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