YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

2 Lebanon Extremists Reported in Iran to 'Testify' Against U.S. Hostages

June 27, 1987|Associated Press

BEIRUT — Two senior officials of the Iranian-backed Shia Muslim faction Hezbollah are in Iran to "testify" against American hostages moved there from Lebanon, the weekly Lebanese magazine Al Shiraa reported Friday.

The magazine also said Shia militants kidnaped U.S. journalist Charles Glass last week because he knew too much about the hijackers who killed a U.S. Navy diver aboard a TWA jet in Beirut in 1985.

Beirut's independent daily newspaper An Nahar said Syria, the major power broker in Beirut, knows who holds Glass and where they are holding him.

Sources close to the Syrian military command in Beirut, who demanded anonymity, said Syria remained poised to crack down on Hezbollah, whose name means Party of God. But Iran said Syria probably would not yield to U.S. pressure to attack.

Fourteen gunmen kidnaped Glass along with Ali Osseiran, son of Lebanon's defense minister, and Osseiran's driver on June 17.

The kidnapers released Osseiran, who is a Shia, and the driver on Wednesday but kept Glass despite Syria's demand that they release all three. Hezbollah denied involvement.

Glass was the first foreigner kidnaped in West Beirut since 7,500 Syrian troops moved in Feb. 22 to end three years of war among Muslim militias. He was the ninth American and 25th foreigner kidnaped in Lebanon since 1985.

Al Shiraa, which has contacts among militant Muslim groups in Iran, first reported secret U.S. arms sales to Iran last November. Editor-Publisher Hassan Sabra made available an advance copy of the latest report, which will be published today.

The magazine said Mohammed Maghniyeh and Abdul-Hadi Hamadi, security chiefs of Hezbollah, had gone to Tehran "to testify in the case of some American hostages" who have been moved from Beirut to Iran.

It said the two "are believed to have engineered the TWA hijacking."

Hamadi is the brother of Mohammed Ali Hamadi, a Lebanese Shia arrested in West Germany this year and charged in the United States with air piracy and murder in the hijacking.

Glass, 36, a Los Angeles native, covered the 16-day hijacking for ABC television.

The magazine said the two Hezbollah leaders also went to Tehran to coordinate moves with Iranian authorities on Hamadi's trial in West Germany.

West German on Wednesday rejected a U.S. request to extradite Mohammed Ali Hamadi but said he will be tried there.

After Hamadi's arrest in January, two West Germans were kidnaped in Beirut in an apparent bid to force Bonn to free him.

Al Shiraa reported June 13 that some of the eight other Americans kidnaped in Lebanon since March, 1985, had been transferred to Iran, where a faction within the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's Shia regime wanted to put them on trial.

Los Angeles Times Articles