Another Briton Kidnapped in Beirut
BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) _ Five gunmen dragged a British businessman from his car in west Beirut Friday afternoon and abducted him, the British ambassador said. It was the second kidnap of a Briton in the Moslem sector in two days.
Ambassador David Miers said Brian Levick, managing director of the Coral Oil Co. in Lebanon, was kidnapped between 1:30 p.m. and 1:40 p.m. in the Raouche section of west Beirut. He said Levick, who had worked in Beirut for 18 months, was born in 1926.
″He was dragged from his car by five armed gunmen, according to witnesses,″ Miers said. He that by mid-evening there had been no ransom demand or indication of who was responsible.
On Thursday, three gunmen forced 60-year-old Geoffrey Nash into a yellow car and drove away. He is a metallurgist who works for the Lebanese government.
British Embassy officials had speculated at the time of Nash’s kidnapping that he might have been taken under the misconception that he was an American, because his office was near the now-unused U.S. Embassy in West Beirut and there have been several kidnappings of Americans here.
After the second kidnapping, however, Miers said that ″I am afraid that it means British subjects here are at risk.″
He added that he was warning British subjects in Lebanon that they ″are advised not to remain unless there is a compelling reason.″
Five Americans have been kidnapped or disappeared in west Beirut in the past year. One, Cable News Network correspondent Jeremy Levin, said he escaped from his captors but four Americans remain missing.
The Jihad Islami, or Islamic Holy War, a fundamentalist Shiite Moslem organization, has claimed responsibility for the kidpnapping of Americanss.
On Thursday, 18 Americans, some of them diplomats, were moved by helicopter from Beirut to the nearby island of Cyprus in what White House officials said was an evacuation necessitated by a militia rebellion in Christian east Beirut. A pro-Israeli militia chief, Samir Geagea, broke away Tuesday from the Phalange Party of President Amin Gemayel, demanding that Gemayel and the party reconsider their increasingly pro-Syrian stance.
The rebellion has increased tension in east Beirut, where most U.S. diplomats now live and work. Militiamen with varying loyalties have been establishing roadblocks, and sometimes clashing.
Two senior Shiite Moslem religious leaders said in statements published by Beirut newspapers Thursday that all Arab and Islamic nations should break off diplomatic relations with the United States. On Tuesday the United States vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israeli practices in occupied southern Lebanon.
The radical Hezbollah, or Party of God, threatened revenge against the United States because of the veto.
Last week, the United Nations ordered Americans working for the U.N. peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon off the job in anticipation of reprisals following a U.N. veto.