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Kashmiri Rebels Release Israeli Taken Hostage in Northern India

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Moslem rebels in northern India have released a 22-year-old Israeli tourist held hostage for a week, it was reported here Wednesday from Srinagar, capital of Kashmir province.

Yair Yitzhaki, a resident of the Old City in Jerusalem, was handed over to U.N. representatives in Srinagar following an appeal from U.N. Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar, who is presently in Europe.

Israel’s U.N. ambassador, Yoram Aridor, immediately expressed his gratitude “to all who assisted in this matter, including the U.N. secretary-general and his staff,” said a spokeswoman at the Israeli mission in New York.

Yitzhaki was one of seven Israelis and a Dutch woman kidnapped off a houseboat on Lake Dal near Srinagar on June 26 by members of the extremist Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front.

One Israeli, Erez Cohen, was killed in a gun battle with their captors. His body was flown back to Israel on Sunday and buried Monday.

There others were wounded but managed to escape and were hospitalized in Srinagar. Yitzhaki was expected to return home with them by the end of the week.

The rebels, whose violent tactics have emptied Kashmir of foreign visitors, want to separate the province from India or join it to neighboring Pakistan.

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