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Kuwaiti kidnapped in Lebanon: release reports denied

Lawmakers call for strong stance by government to help release

Image Credit: Supplied
Esam Al Hooty, 52, was near the house he was renting in Hosh Al Gahanam in the Bekaa Valley when he was forced by his abductors to get in a car
Gulf News

Manama: The wife of a Kuwaiti citizen who was kidnapped on Saturday in Lebanon has denied reports that he has been released.

Fawzia Arafat, a Lebanese, said that she had not received any contact from anybody about the release of her husband Esam Al Hooty who was abducted earlier on the day as he arrived to home in Hosh Al Gahanam in the Bekaa Valley in his private car.

Esam’s brother also denied reports that he had been released and urged the media to refrain from publishing “erroneous news that could affect the morale of his family,” Kuwaiti news site Al Aan reported.

Esam, 52, was reportedly abducted by unknown assailants who forced him into a car that sped towards Baalbek, a Lebanese news site said.

Kuwait’s ambassador in Beirut, Abdul A’al Al Qanai, confirmed the kidnapping and said that he was in contact with the highest political and security authorities in Lebanon to secure the release of the Kuwaiti national.

The diplomat told Kuwait News Agency (Kuna) that he had been informed about the kidnapping by Al Hooty’s wife.

Lebanon’s interior minister, Marwan Sherbal, said that the local security forces are deploying extraordinary efforts to secure the release of the Kuwaiti kidnap victim.

Lebanon’s National News Agency (NNA) said that Al Hooty was married to a woman from the village of Talya in the Bekaa Valley, and that he was kidnapped after he arrived home and got off his car that had a Qatari licence plate 20/27880.

However, Kuna, quoting security sources it did not identify, said that the car’s licence plates were Kuwaiti.

In Kuwait City, lawmakers called for a strong stance by the Kuwaiti government to help release and repatriate the kidnap victims.

“The Lebanese government should be held responsible for anything that could happen to the Kuwaiti victim,” MP Ali Al Amair said.

MP Abdul Lateef Al Umairi said that Kuwait had been a strong supporter of the Lebanese government and that all efforts should be exerted to secure Al Hooty’s release.

Kuwait earlier this month warned all Kuwaiti nationals to leave or avoid Lebanon following threats by a local clan to kidnap Gulf nationals.

Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE also issued similar warnings to their citizens.

Thousands of Gulf nationals regularly spend their summer holidays in the Mediterranean country.