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Klarsfeld Goes to Beirut to Seek Release of Lebanese Jews Held Hostage

Nazi-hunter Serge Klarsfeld has gone to Beirut in an effort to obtain the release of a small group of Lebanese Jews being held hostage by Shiite extremists. Four Jewish hostages have been murdered in recent weeks and five men are still missing and presumably in the hands of the kidnappers.

Klarsfeld said before leaving for Beirut that he wanted to replace his wife Beate, who earlier this month returned from Lebanon where she had tried to find the kidnappers and to negotiate with them for the release of the missing Jewish hostages. Beate Klarsfeld had been in Beirut for three weeks before returning here.

She said she had offered to take the place of the hostages but failed to establish direct contact with the kidnappers. Upon her arrival here, she said, “this is a crime against humanity, similar to the Nazi crimes against the Jews.” She called for world public opinion to help obtain the release of the five missing Jews.

The latest victim murdered by the Kidnappers was Dr. Elie Hallak, 60, a physician and the vice president of the Lebanese Jewish community. An extremist Shiite Lebanese group, “The Organization of the Oppressed in the World,” announced the “execution” of Hallak last week. His body has not been recovered.

The killers have laid down a number of conditions that must be met before Hallak’s body is to be returned. Hallak, a popular general practitioner and lecturer at Beirut Medical School, was kidnapped outside his home in predominantly Moslem west Beirut on March 30, 1985.

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