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Group Seeks Release of Seven Missing Lebanese Jews With AM-Hostages, Bjt

August 17, 1991 GMT

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) _ In the latest round of efforts to arrange a swap of Arab prisoners, missing Israeli servicemen and Western hostages, there has been little mention of seven Lebanese Jews, missing and believed kidnapped.

Lebanese newspapers on Saturday said the Geneva-based International Alliance of Liberal Judaism was demanding that any package deal to release the prisoners, servicemen and hostage should include the missing Jews.

A Shiite Muslim group, the Organization of the Oppressed on Earth, kidnapped the Jews in Beirut between 1984 and 1986 and accused them of spying for Israel.


It was the same group that kidnapped U.S. Marine Lt. Col. William Higgins in southern Lebanon on Feb. 17, 1988, and claimed to have executed him 17 months later as a spy for Israel and the CIA.

Joseph Mizrahi, a leader of the Lebanese Jewish community, said the kidnappers apparently thought that by abducting Lebanese Jews they would be able to win the freedom of Shiites held by Israel.

″After many kidnapped Jews have been killed or claimed killed, I think the kidnappers should realize that Israel doesn’t care about us,″ said Mizrahi.

The missing Lebanese Jews believed abducted by the Organization of the Oppressed on Earth are:

-Yahuda Benesti, 84, and his son Youssef, 36, who were kidnapped along with another son, Ibrahim, 40, on May 11, 1985. The three owned a newspaper booth near Beirut airport. The Organization of the Oppressed on Earth claimed it killed them separately in 1986. Ibrahim’s body was found on Feb. 18, 1986.

-Henri Mann, 33, a plumber who vanished mysteriously in mid-1986. On Jan. 1, 1987, the Organization of the Oppressed on Earth said it killed him. His body was never found.

-Elie Srour, 71, an electrical engineer, was kidnapped from his shop in Beirut’s Ein Mreisseh seaside district on March 28, 1985. The Shiite group said it killed him on Jan. 1, 1987. His body was never found.

-Salim Murad Jamous, 58, was kidnapped on Aug. 15, 1984. No group has ever claimed responsibility.

-Issac Sassoun, 70, the head of Lebanon’s Jewish community, was abducted on March 31, 1985. No group claimed responsibility.

-Clement Dana, 58, was snatched from his apartment in Beirut’s Hamra district on April 4, 1985. No group ever claimed responsibility.