Abducted Pilgrims Slam Officials as Relatives Block Airport Road to Protest State Inactionإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
The families of the 11 Lebanese Shiite pilgrims who were abducted in Syria on Monday blocked the airport road to protest the Lebanese state's failure to secure their release.
State-run National News Agency said the protesters used their cars and motorcycles to block the highway in both directions.
Sheikh Abbas Zgheib, spokesman for the campaign demanding their release, said “this action is the first step and it might be escalated should the state fail to address this issue.”
“The sit-in will remain in place until we see the officials’ reaction,” he added.
LBCI television said the protesters prevented a U.N. bus from reaching the Beirut Rafik Hariri International Airport.
Earlier on Monday, al-Jadeed television said the abductees telephoned their families and reassured them that they are in good health.
For its part, LBCI said the abductees told their families that only former premier Saad Hariri and MP Oqab Saqr are following their case.
In a phone interview with al-Jadeed, abductee Abbas Shoaib said: “If we don't have a president, a premier or a speaker, let our people demand our release.”
Shoaib denied media reports that two of the hostages had fled the location of their imprisonment when it came under shelling on Saturday.
“The Syrian people are the most generous people,” he added.
Abu Ibrahim, the leader of the group that abducted the 11 pilgrims, told LBCI that “the abductees enjoy total freedom and we did not come under any attack.”
Another abductee, Ali Zgheib, told LBCI: “We were hoping the president would demand our release, but unfortunately we have not heard a single word since three months. Abu Ibrahim is our brother and we would be honored to be granted the Syrian nationality by the Syrian revolutionaries.”