Report: 15 Lebanese held in link with Kuwaiti kidnap probe

August 31, 2012

Lebanese authorities have arrested 15 people in connection with the kidnapping on Saturday of a Kuwaiti national, according to reports from Beirut.

Voice of Lebanon 93.3 said that Gazi Khamees Arafat, the brother-in-law of Esam Al Houthi, the kidnap victim, was among those arrested in the operations coordinated between the Lebanese security and intelligence services to probe the abduction and access facts, news site Ya Libnan reported. 

Al Houthi, a 52-year-old oil engineer, was abducted as he arrived home in Housh Al Ganem, in the eastern Bekaa Valley, where he, his Lebanese wife, Fawzia Arafat, and their daughter were holidaying.

The victim was reportedly forced under the threat of a gun into a car that later sped towards Baalbek.

Fawziya said that her husband was kidnapped by three assailants who seemed to believe that he was rich and that a hefty ransom would be paid.

Lebanese officials have said that the incident was not politically motivated.

Kuwait had urged its citizens to leave and avoid Lebanon following threats by a clan that it would kidnap Gulf nationals in retaliation for the abduction of some of its members.

Kuwaiti lawmakers have put tremendous pressure on the government to act promptly and decisively to secure Al Houthi’s release.

Calls by some MPs to expel Lebanese residents in retaliation for the kidnapping were rejected by a senior foreign ministry official.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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