Nusra Gunmen Briefly Abduct Workers in Ras Baalbek, One Still in Custodyإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Gunmen from the al-Qaida-linked Al Nusra Front kidnapped on Tuesday several Lebanese, Syrian and Turkmen workers in the outskirts of the Ras Baalbek region in the Bekaa.
"Ten workers, the majority of whom are Syrians, were kidnapped in the outskirts of Ras Baalbek by Nusra Front gunmen,” reported LBCI television, noting that the abduction caused tension in the region.
LBCI revealed that two Lebanese were among the kidnapped, one of them hails from Ras Baalbek and the other from the border town of Arsal.
But OTV later said that three Lebanese were among the abductees.
“They are employees at a stone crushing plant operated by the Meshref family," it detailed.
The state-run National News Agency identified the Lebanese men as Mikhail Mrad, Alaa Ezzeddine and Mohammed al-Hujairi.
It added that one Turkmen was also held.
NNA elaborated on the incident: "The gunmen attacked Rifaat Meshref's stone crushing plant and seized a bulldozer and two trucks."
Army forces were chasing after the abductors, the NNA assured.
Later in the evening, NNA said six of the seven abducted workers were released.
It remarked that the group included three Lebanese, three Syrians and a Turkmen.
"Six were released while Mikhail, who's the owner of the plant, is still kidnapped and negotiations are ongoing to free him,” it explained.
Last week, Syrian minor Khaled Mustafa was also kidnapped in Arsal by the same extremist group.
And on Sunday, Nusra armed men kidnapped three youths who hail from Arsal, only to release them later at dawn.
Ever since the Syrian revolt erupted in March 2011, Arsal has served as a key conduit for refugees, rebels and wounded people fleeing strife-torn Syria.