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Kidnapers Seize 2 More in Lebanon

January 23, 1987|Associated Press

BEIRUT — Kidnapers forced two more foreigners into a car at gunpoint today while Anglican Church envoy Terry Waite negotiated for a fourth day with captors of American hostages.

Police said they had unconfirmed reports that the latest kidnap victims were West Germans who called on their embassy in West Beirut minutes before they were abducted at 9:30 a.m. on Pavillon Street near Hamra, the Muslim sector's commercial district.

But Consul Rene Trager at the West German Embassy annex in Christian East Beirut said: "We don't think they are Germans. We are still checking."

Witnesses said the victims protested to their abductors in a foreign language, but the Arabic-speaking witnesses were unsure what language it was.

A perfume vendor, who identified himself as Abu Khalil, said he saw five men in a gray Mercedes car pull to a stop.

'All Sped Away'

"Three gunmen leaped out. One came to me and threatened to shoot me if I moved. The other two bundled the victims into the Mercedes, and all sped away," Abu Khalil said.

The Christian radio station Voice of Lebanon said early today that American captives Terry A. Anderson and Thomas Sutherland were expected to be turned over to Waite in east Lebanon's Bekaa Valley town of Baalbek. The report could not be verified.

The radio later said that the captors were making "stiffer demands" and that the Americans' release appeared to be in doubt. It did not elaborate.

The radio account said Waite was meeting in Baalbek with representatives of Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad, two pro-Iranian Shia Muslim groups. Hezbollah is the most militant Shia group in Lebanon. Islamic Jihad has claimed it kidnaped Anderson and Sutherland.

The Voice of Lebanon, the station of President Amin Gemayel's rightist Falange Party, has made inaccurate reports on Muslim happenings in the past.

Asks Sheik to Intervene

West German Ambassador Antonius Eitel, meanwhile, met Sheik Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, the reputed spiritual guide of Hezbollah.

Eitel told reporters after a 45-minute meeting at Fadlallah's house in Muslim West Beirut that he asked him to intervene to rescue two West Germans abducted in the last week in the Lebanese capital. They are Rudolf Cordes, 53, seized last Saturday, and Siemens company engineer Alfred Schmidt, 47, abducted Tuesday.

Radio Lower Saxony, a private West German station in Hanover, said today that the brother of a Lebanese terrorist suspect detained in West Germany had ordered the kidnapings. It identified him as Abdul Hadi Hamadi, security chief for Hezbollah and brother of the detained suspect, Mohammed Ali Hamadi.

The United States is seeking Hamadi's extradition to face charges of air piracy and murder in connection with the June, 1985, hijack of a TWA jetliner to Beirut.

In Bonn, officials said today Chancellor Helmut Kohl's government is considering putting Hamadi on trial on explosives and forgery charges before extraditing him to the United States. The officials, who requested anonymity, said that would win time for the West German government to negotiate the freedom of the hostages.

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