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Israeli TV Predicts Imminent Release of One Western Hostage in Lebanon

October 20, 1991|Times Wire Services

JERUSALEM — A Western hostage held in Beirut will be released within a few days, Israel television said Saturday.

There may also be "a limited release" of Shiite prisoners held under Israeli control in a South Lebanon prison, it added.

Earlier Saturday, Israeli military authorities said they had received definite evidence of the death of Israeli serviceman Yossi Fink, kidnaped in 1986.

Fink was kidnaped by Hezbollah guerrillas while serving in South Lebanon, the sources said. Information on the death of the British-born Fink was provided recently by U.N. Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar, the sources said.

The sources expressed appreciation for the secretary general's efforts and said they hoped that the step presaged further progress in determining the fate of three other Israeli servicemen still missing in Lebanon.

The hostage-takers have said they would be willing to swap the nine Westerners they hold for up to 300 Shiites held by Israel and its proxy army in Lebanon. Israel has said it wants word on its missing soldiers before releasing the Shiites.

On Sept. 13, the remains of Sgt. Samir Assad, an Israeli soldier kidnaped in Lebanon in 1983, were returned to the Jewish state. Two weeks later, British hostage Jack Mann was freed.

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