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Hostage Says He Worked for Israelis

February 02, 1988|Reuters

BEIRUT — Radical Palestinian guerrillas holding eight European hostages, including two young French girls, released a videotape today in which the girls' mother said she refused to let them go free.

A Belgian hostage in the same group, apparently speaking freely, admitted on the tape that he worked for Israeli intelligence as charged by the abductors.

The mother, Jacqueline Valente, said: "My children are very well. The Palestinian fighters would like to send them to their father but I refuse. I want to keep the children with me."

Valente, who has fought a custody battle over the girls with her ex-husband, appeared relaxed and in good health.

The FRC said in December it was ready to release the sisters to their father, Valente's ex-husband Pascal Betille.

The group also said in December that Valente had given birth in captivity to a daughter by one of the other hostages, Fernand Houtekins.

The videotape was issued by the Fatah Revolutionary Council (FRC), headed by the world's most wanted guerrilla leader, Abu Nidal, and delivered to news media organizations in Beirut.

The FRC holds Valente, her two daughters, Marie-Laure, 5, and Virginie, 6, and five Belgian nationals. It said on Nov. 8 it snatched them from a yacht off the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip.

One of the Belgians, Laurent Houtekins, looking confident and not speaking from a text, said: "I am in a good health. I would like to draw everyone's attention to the fact that people working for the Israeli Mossad asked us to travel to Israel.

"I have been used by Mossad (the Israeli intelligence service) in France and Belgium."

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