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Lebanese businessmen kidnapped in Iraq return to Beirut

Imad al-Khatib was one of the three businessmen kidnapped on arrival to Baghdad [AFP]

Date of publication: 30 October, 2017

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Three Lebanese nationals kidnapped in Baghdad last week arrived to Beirut on Sunday after they were released, Lebanon's interior ministry said.
Three Lebanese nationals kidnapped in the Iraqi capital Baghdad last week were freed and arrived to Beirut on Sunday, Lebanon's interior ministry said.

The men were freed in an operation coordinated between Lebanese and Iraqi authorities, a statement from the interior ministry said.

The men had been kidnapped by a "gang", adding that one kidnapper had been killed in the rescue operation and others arrested, the statement added.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri thanked "all those who had worked and contributed to the release of the Lebanese citizens".

Hariri also praised the Lebanese security apparatuses for their "relentless efforts to ensure the safe release of the abductees".

The three men, named as Imad al-Khatib, Nader Hmadeh and George Batrouni, were kidnapped on arrival in Baghdad on October 22.

Additional kidnappers were still being pursued, without specifying the suspected motives for the abduction.

Kidnappings for ransom or for sectarian or political reasons were rife in Iraq following the US-led invasion of 2003 that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein, but they became less common from 2015 onwards.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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