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Red Cross Reports Meeting With Terrorists but Not 8 Hostages

November 12, 1987|Associated Press

BEIRUT — A Red Cross official met with the Palestinian group claiming to hold eight people hostage, but the official did not meet with the captives, the agency said Wednesday.

Nicholas Roggo, an official with the International Committee of the Red Cross, met Tuesday with members of the Abu Nidal terrorist group, according to Dominique Gross, the agency's chief delegate in Lebanon.

Gross said the Palestinian group again offered to allow the agency's delegate to see the five Belgian and three French captives it claims to have. But the agency's Geneva office has not responded to the offer yet, Gross said.

"The meeting (with the Palestinian group) was on a routine basis. It was not on an assignment from ICRC Geneva headquarters," Gross said. He would not say where the meeting was held or identify the Palestinians who attended.

It was the first meeting between the Red Cross and the terrorists since Sunday's announcement by the Palestinians that they had seized the eight people, who they initially claimed were Israeli, aboard a yacht off the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip.

The Belgian hostages were identified as Emmanuel Houtekins, 42; his wife Godlieve Kets, 48; and their children, Laurent Emmanuel Houtekins, 17; his daughter, Valerie Emmanuel Houtekins, 16, and his brother, Fernand Houtekins, 40. The French were identified as Jacqueline Valente, 30, and her daughters, Marie-Laure, 6, and Virginia, 5.

All eight are Roman Catholics, according to relatives. Their whereabouts and that of the boat reportedly hijacked by the terrorists remain a mystery.

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