Gunmen abduct Turkish Airlines pilots in Beirut


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Reuters reports: “A Turkish Airlines pilot and his colleague were abducted in Lebanon on Friday by armed men who forced them from a bus driving them from Beirut airport, a Turkish diplomat said.

“There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the abduction but families of Lebanese Shi'ites captured last year by rebels in northern Syria, close to the Turkish border, have demanded Ankara take greater steps to win their release.

“The diplomat said the two Turks were seized at around 3 a.m. (0000 GMT / 8:00 p.m. Thursday EDT) when gunmen stopped a vehicle carrying the Turkish Airlines crew to their hotel in the Lebanese capital.

“A senior Lebanese political source told Reuters earlier this week that authorities had information that relatives of the Lebanese detainees were planning to take Turkish hostages.

“Turkey has supported rebels battling to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and may have influence over fighters holding the Lebanese detainees.”
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