BEIRUT — A previously unknown group claimed responsibility for kidnaping two U.S. citizens in Muslim West Beirut and warned all Americans to leave the sector, a Christian-owned radio station said Saturday.
The Voice of Lebanon station said an anonymous caller asserted that members of the Khalaya al-Baath, or Resurrection Cells, kidnaped Frank Herbert Reed on Tuesday and Joseph J. Cicippio on Friday.
The Voice of Lebanon speaks for President Amin Gemayel's right-wing Falangist Party and rarely has been accurate on responsibility claims for terrorist attacks in West Beirut.
Baath is the name of Syrian President Hafez Assad's political party, which has strained relations with the Falangists.
On Friday, the Voice of Lebanon said Hezbollah, or Party of God, a fundamentalist Shia Muslim group, was responsible for Reed's abduction. It said Reed's kidnapers smuggled him to Baalbek, in east Lebanon's Syrian-controlled Bekaa Valley.
Reed, 53, director of the Lebanese International School in West Beirut, was kidnaped by four gunmen Tuesday while driving to a golf course at the city's outskirts.
Cicippio, 56, who was born and grew up in the Norristown area of Pennsylvania, was seized by four gunmen when he left his apartment on the American University campus in West Beirut. He is the school's acting controller.