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Lebanon to probe case of missing cleric

Jan. 11, 2012 at 1:38 PM

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Jan. 11 (UPI) -- There has been considerable "talk and speculation" about the whereabouts of a missing Shiite cleric, a Lebanese official said on his way to Tripoli.

Lebanese Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour left Wednesday for a visit to Libya to investigate the fate of Musa Sadr, the founder of the Amal Movement in Lebanon.

"There has been a lot of talk and speculation in this case," the minister was quoted by Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star as saying. "However, our visit today aims to learn the truth (about Sadr's disappearance) and free (his companions),"

Sadr disappeared in 1978. The Beirut government threatened to boycott last year's Arab League summit in Libya because it blamed Moammar Gadhafi for the disappearance. Gadhafi's government said Sadr disappeared after he left the country for Italy.

A source in the interim government in Libya told the Lebanese newspaper in late December they believed Sadr died of natural causes in 1998 in a Libyan jail.

Mansour said it's "too early" to raise the issue with any officials left over from Gadhafi's regime.

Sadr's movement is led now by Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri.

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