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2nd W. German Kidnaped in Beirut; Death Threat Made : PLO Urges Trade for Suspect

January 21, 1987|From Times Wire Services

BEIRUT — A West German engineer was kidnaped today in the second seizure of a West German citizen in Beirut in five days, and a PLO official warned in Bonn that German hostages will be killed if a Palestinian hijacking suspect is extradited to the United States as requested.

The Bonn government and the West German Embassy in Beirut declined to say if the latest abduction, claimed in an anonymous telephone call, is linked to the U.S. request that Bonn extradite accused TWA hijacker Mohammed Ali Hamadi.

However, Bonn acknowledged on Tuesday that the first West German was abducted Saturday to extort Hamadi's release.

Working at Hospital

The latest missing German was identified as Alfred Schmidt, 47, a Damascus-based technician for the Siemans electrical company who traveled to Beirut last Thursday to install equipment at the Middle East Hospital in Muslim West Beirut.

An anonymous caller today told a Western news agency that his group seized Schmidt outside his luxury seaside West Beirut hotel overnight but did not say why or identify his organization.

A hotel receptionist said Schmidt had not been seen since 6 p.m. Tuesday and he did not appear for a meeting with friends today. She said he had been at the hotel since Jan. 15.

"His luggage is still in his room," she said.

First German Kidnaped

West German businessman Rudolf Cordes was kidnaped Saturday in Beirut's Muslim sector. He was the first West German kidnaped in Beirut in recent memory.

Cordes, 53, is Beirut manager of Hoechst AG, one of West Germany's largest chemical companies. He was taken captive minutes after arriving on a Middle East Airlines flight from Frankfurt.

Schmidt's disappearance came a day after the United States formally requested that West Germany extradite Hamadi, a Lebanese-born Palestinian, to face charges in the 17-day hijacking of a TWA airliner in 1985 and the murder of a U.S. serviceman who was a passenger.

In Washington today, Atty. Gen. Edwin Meese III called on West Germany to assert its "political will" and quickly extradite Hamadi despite the reports of the second disappearance.

May Move Slowly

But various West German news media were quoting sources as saying Bonn may not move as quickly on the extradition request as originally indicated.

Bild newspaper said it learned the government was considering three options: freeing Hamadi, extraditing him or holding him while trying to ransom Cordes and possibly Schmidt with a huge bribe, perhaps $50 million, to the Shia Muslims.

"Hamadi's extradition to the U.S.A. would be a death sentence for Cordes," Abdullah Frangi, the Palestine Liberation Organization representative in Bonn, said in an interview today in Bild.

Exchange Recommended

Frangi recommended the government trade Hamadi, identified as possibly the brother of a senior Hezbollah security official in Lebanon, for Cordes. The Shia Muslim group Hezbollah, or Party of God, is believed to have kidnaped Cordes.

Today's abduction coincided with stepped-up efforts by Church of England envoy Terry Waite to secure the release of Western hostages held in Lebanon.

Waite dropped from sight more than 24 hours ago in West Beirut.

"Mr. Waite is having a meeting with the hostage-holders," said Jihad Zohairi, spokesman for Walid Jumblatt's Druze militia, which is responsible for Waite's security.

Another Druze official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Waite would be allowed to "see and converse" with American hostages Terry Anderson and Thomas Sutherland during his talks with the captors.

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