Mystery Surrounds Fate of Lebanese Jew Terrorists Claimed Twice to Have ‘executed’

The mystery deepened over the fate of Elie Srour, one of six Lebanese Jews kidnapped in West Beirut on March 30, 1985. A terrorist group, calling itself “The Organization of the Oppressed of the Earth,” claimed last Friday that it had “executed” Srour in “reprisal” for recent Israeli air strikes at terrorist targets in south Lebanon.

But the same organization announced Srour’s “execution” last December 30, alleging he was an Israeli “spy” who “belonged to the Mossad while claiming to act as president of the Lebanese Jewish community.”

The latest “execution” was announced in a handwritten note discovered by police along with a photograph of the victim. The photograph was identified as Srour but police could not say when it was taken.

Srour was seized more than two years ago outside his electrical appliance shop in west Beirut. He had headed the Hevrat Kadisha, the Jewish burial society in Beirut.

Ten Lebanese Jews have been kidnapped during the past two-and-a-half years. Their captors claimed that seven were “executed.” Only three bodies were found. No traces have been found of Srour or the others.

The Jewish community here and groups in Israel have been trying to learn the fate of the missing men, so far without success. The announcement of Srour’s “execution” twice in six months, each time for different reasons, has added to the puzzle.

(In New York Sunday, Morris Abram, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said “The contempt for human life by Shiite terrorists is underscored once more by the murder of Elie Srour … Coupled with the kidnapping of the American journalist, Charles Glass, this latest atrocity reveals again the cruelty of the terrorists and their mindless nihilism.”

He added that the war against terrorism will be won “when the West exhibits the will and the strength to crush those who challenge the rule of law and the moral values of civilized society.”)

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