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Hostages Held by Terrorists Aren't Israelis or Jews, Israeli Media Say

November 11, 1987|From Times Wire Services

TEL AVIV — Israeli media said Tuesday that none of the eight people that the Palestinian Abu Nidal terrorist group claims it seized aboard a French-registered yacht are Israeli or Jewish.

"They are not Israelis and not Jews and have nothing at all to do with the Middle East conflict," said Tamar Golan, Israel army radio's correspondent in France.

The radio said it was not certain that the 43-foot Silko, a converted sardine fishing boat, had even been captured as claimed Sunday, supposedly in the heavily patrolled waters off the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip.

The daily Haaretz reported: "The terrorists erred: They meant to seize a boat with Israelis--but captured Belgian Catholics."

"It's clear that because of awful intelligence-gathering on their part, they seized a boat they didn't mean to," Israeli military columnist Zev Schiff wrote in Haaretz.

Israel army radio reported that the group listed by the terrorists included four Belgians, all Roman Catholics--Emmanuel Houtekins, 42, his wife Godlieve Kets, 48, and their children, Valerie Emmanuel Houtekins, 16, and Laurent Emmanuel Houtekins, 17.

The radio said that Fernand Houtekins, 40, brother of Emmanuel, may also be Belgian but has lived in France for the last six years, and that his friend, Jacqueline Valente, 30, and her two children are French.

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