Lebanese prime minister urges effort to free kidnapped bishops

Oct. 21, 2013 at 11:50 AM
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BEIRUT, Lebanon, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- Lebanese President Michel Sleiman Monday pledged to help free two Christian bishops kidnapped in April near the Turkish border.

In a meeting with senior military and security officials at the presidential palace, Sleiman urged them to make every effort to secure the clerics' release, The (Beirut) Daily Star reported.

The Rev. Paul Yazigi, the Greek Orthodox archbishop for the Syrian town of Aleppo, and the Rev. Yohanna Ibrahim, a Syriac Orthodox archbishop, had been abducted by armed men near the Turkish border.

The meeting focused on ways of improving the gathering of intelligence and coordinating efforts among security agencies.

Sleiman also congratulated government ministers and military officials involved in gaining the release Saturday of nine Lebanese religious pilgrims who had been kidnapped in Syria in May 2012.

The deal also resulted in the release of two Turkish pilots who had been kidnapped in Beirut in August.

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