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Red Cross Turns Down Request by Abu Nidal to Help Move Hostages

November 15, 1987|From Reuters

BEIRUT — A Palestinian guerrilla group headed by Abu Nidal asked the International Committee of the Red Cross on Saturday to help move eight European prisoners it holds to a safe place.

In Geneva, the Red Cross promptly rejected the request.

The terrorists, in a statement sent to a news agency here, denied Belgian and French reports that the eight are Roman Catholics, saying they are "Zionist Jews."

"While our movement is exerting all efforts to preserve the prisoners' lives and safety, we would like you to clarify whether it is possible for the ICRC to help us move them to a safe place.

"We hope the International Committee of the Red Cross will convey to French and Belgian authorities that the prisoners were Jews affiliated to the Zionist movement," the statement said.

In Geneva, Red Cross spokeswoman Francoise Derron said, "The ICRC condemns the taking of hostages, and the consequence is that the ICRC cannot transfer detainees from one place of detention to another."

The Fatah Revolutionary Council announced last Sunday the capture of what it claimed were five Belgians, a French woman and two girls from a yacht off the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip. It claimed the adults had dual Israeli nationality and were Israeli spies.

Israel said it has no record of the prisoners. Brussels said five are Roman Catholics living in France, while Paris said the French woman, the girls' mother, is also a Roman Catholic.

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