Turkish Airline crew kidnapped in Lebanon

2013-08-09 17:19
Turkish flags fly in the wind. (Gero Breloer, AP)

Turkish flags fly in the wind. (Gero Breloer, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Beirut - Gunmen on Friday ambushed a van carrying a Turkish Airlines crew in the Lebanese capital and kidnapped two of its members, a pilot and a co-pilot, security officials said.

According to the officials, six gunmen ambushed the vehicle on an old airport road in Beirut, snatched the two men, both Turkish nationals, and let the rest continue on.

The van was travelling between the Rafik Hariri International Airport to a hotel in Beirut when the ambush took place early on Friday, said the Lebanese officials, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

Although there was no claim of responsibility for the ambush or a demand for ransom, the incident is likely related to the civil war in neighbouring Syria, which has deeply divided the Lebanese. The Syrian rebels, who are backed by Turkey, have been holding nine Lebanese Shi'ites hostage since last year.

The Turkish crew had landed a Turkish Airlines plane with 144 passengers on board, the Lebanese officials told The Associated Press. The flight number 828 from Istanbul to Beirut landed at 03:30 (00:30 GMT), they said.

Authorities were investigating and the road where the kidnapping occurred has been closed off with several police checkpoints, the officials added.

Lebanon's state National News Agency reported that the driver of the van was being questioned and that eight gunmen were involved in the abduction. The difference in the number of the attackers in the report and the Lebanese officials' account could not immediately be explained. The report said the Turkish crew had six members in all.

In Turkey, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Levent Gumrukcu confirmed the kidnapping and said the rest of the crew was still in Beirut but expected to return to Turkey on Friday evening.

"We don't know who did this and for what purpose," Gumrukcu said, adding that the Turkish government was in close contact with Lebanese officials over the case.

Turkey supports the Sunni Muslim rebels fighting to topple the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, which is dominated by Alawites, an offshoot sect of Shiite Islam.

The Lebanese are deeply divided over Syria's civil war, with Shiites largely supporting the regime in Damascus and Sunnis backing the rebels. Both Sunni militants, and fighters from Lebanon's dominant Shi'ite Hezbollah group, have been fighting on opposite sides in the conflict.

The conflict in Syria that has claimed more than 100 000 lives since it erupted in March 2011. The fighting has frequently spilled into Lebanon.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    turkey  |  lebanon  |  syria conflict

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

Boks up to No 4 in rankings
Hooper cited over shoulder charge
Last chance for Paige to play?
WATCH: Maradona dances with Los Pumas in the changeroom
Traffic Alerts

It is time to focus on your daily rhythm. Are you putting too much attention on future projects and neglecting the day to day...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.