U.N. Chief Appeals for the Release of Israeli Held Hostage in Kashmir

An appeal for the release of the Israeli tourist held hostage by separatist Kashmiri rebels in northern India was issued Wednesday by U.N. Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar.

Through a spokeswoman, Perez de Cuellar, who is currently in Europe, called on the rebels to release Yair Yitzhaki, 22, “immediately and unharmed.”

“In his view, no aim can be furthered by the taking of innocent hostages,” the spokeswoman said.

Yoram Aridor, Israel’s U.N. ambassador, met Tuesday with special U.N. envoy Jean-Claude Aime, apparently to discuss the hostage situation.

A spokeswoman at the Israeli mission refused comment, adding, “This is a matter of life and death, and when we are dealing with such matters we don’t divulge information to the press.”

Seven Israelis and a Dutch woman were kidnapped last week while vacationing on a houseboat on Lake Dal, near the Kashmiri capital of Srinagar. When they tried to flee, one Israeli was killed and Yitzhaki was taken hostage.

The rebels holding Yitzhaki say they are willing to release him, but only to a U.N. representative, “if the Indian government requests it.”

NEXT STORY