Gunmen Briefly Abduct 18-Year-Old in Baalbek

An 18-year-old boy was on Wednesday briefly kidnapped by armed men in the eastern city of Baalbek, the state-run National News Agency reported.

Bernard Serge Salameh was near his home in the "Christian neighborhood" of Baalbek when unidentified gunmen abducted him, it said.

But the teenager was released 15 minutes later, the agency added.

It was not clear if ransom was paid to the kidnappers after reports said they had called his parents to ask for a certain amount of cash.

Kidnapping for ransom has been on the rise in recent years despite a crackdown by police and the army against the gangs involved in such operations.

Security officials say gangs, who once made their money smuggling fuel and contraband through the porous Syria-Lebanon border, have watched their trade wither because of the violence in the neighboring country, so they are turning to kidnapping to make a profit.



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