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Lebanon: Missing Iranian diplomats killed

BEIRUT, Lebanon, May 18 (UPI) -- A Christian politician and former militia commander said four Iranian diplomats who went missing in 1982 were killed by his militiamen.

Samir Geagea, head of the Lebanese Forces, one of several Christian and Muslim militias which fought each other during Lebanon's 15-year civil war, was quoted Thursday by Beirut's daily As-Safir as saying "the four diplomats were killed by members of the Lebanese Forces."

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Geagea's revelation ended the mystery on the plight of the diplomats, including Mohsen Moussawi, charge d'affaires; Ahmed Matousselian, military attaché; Kazem Akhwan, embassy press correspondent; and driver Taki Rustukar Mokaddam.

Geagea said he discussed the issue of the missing diplomats with Speaker Nabih Berri, who also heads the Shiite Amal movement, on the sidelines of a Lebanese national dialogue session held at parliament two days ago.

Geagea said he relayed to Berri all the information he had.

He said "the diplomats were killed shortly after being kidnapped" at a Lebanese Forces checkpoint at the height of Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon.

Asked is they were killed in Lebanon or in Israel he said, "They were liquidated in Lebanon."

Unconfirmed reports said the Iranian diplomats might have been transferred to Israel, which was in close contact with the Lebanese Forces at the time.

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