GENEVA (Jul. 5)
A spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) branded as false the claim by a Palestinian terrorist group that the Red Cross was in effect indolent in seeking permission to visit two Israeli soldiers held prisoner by the group in Lebanon.
One of the prisoners, Yosi Groff, told a wire service reporter last week that a Red Cross representative had visited them only once, last May.
Tachsin el Shabli, a member of the extremist terrorist group headed by Achmed Jibril, who was present at the interview, said visits were permitted every two months but that the Red Cross had asked only once to be allowed to see the Israeli prisoners. This was reported in the Israeli press.
The ICRC spokesman told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, “We have constantly been trying to get permission to visit the two Israeli POWs held by the Achmed Jibril group and we continue our efforts constantly. What the man said is just not true.”
The spokesman added that the Red Cross was not pleased that the Jibril group makes announcements through the press without contacting the ICRC as is the custom. He said that while media reporters are allowed to visit the prisoners, that right is denied the ICRC.