BEIRUT — A militant Muslim faction that kidnaped four Lebanese Jews and killed one said Saturday that it will kill the other three unless Israeli-backed forces stop shelling Shia Muslim villages in southern Lebanon.
The warning was made in a statement issued by the Organization of the Oppressed on Earth and published by the independent Beirut newspaper An Nahar. The group is believed to consist of Shia extremists loyal to Iran.
On Tuesday, police found the body of one of the four hostages, 39-year-old Chaim Cohen Halala, near a Maronite Catholic church in downtown Beirut's bomb-ravaged old commercial district. Halala was kidnaped from his home in predominantly Muslim West Beirut on March 29.
Israeli Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir said later that Israel would not negotiate over kidnaped Jews in Lebanon. The captors said Saturday that their warning was in response to Shamir's declaration.