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Newspaper Receives Valentine Cards Adressed to Hostages

February 15, 1988

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) _ About 150 Valentine’s Day greetings addressed to American hostage Terry Anderson and other foreign captives were received from the United States on Sunday by Beirut’s leftist newspaper As-Safir.

″We received them by mail from all over the United States. We shall run samples in Monday’s edition,″ said As-Safir’s deputy editor Mohammed Mashmoushi.

The letters, many emblazoned with red hearts, were picked up Sunday morning in the newspaper’s mailbox at the central post office.

He said more than three-quarters of the messages were addressed to Anderson, 40, the longest-held foreigner in Lebanon, who was kidnapped March 16, 1985. Anderson is the chief Middle East correspondent for The Associated Press.

One message came from his sister, Peggy Say of Batavia, N.Y. It said, ″Terry, we love you so much and we’ll never give up the fight for your freedom.″

One or two messages were addressed to American hostage Thomas Sutherland, 55, of Fort Collins, Colo., acting dean of agriculture at the American University of Beirut. He was kidnapped June 9, 1985.

A few messages were addressed to missing Anglican Church envoy Terry Waite, 48 who disappeared Jan. 20, 1987, after leaving a west Beirut hotel for a meeting with Anderson’s and Sutherland’s captors.

The two Americans are held by Islamic Jihad, or Islamic Holy War, an underground group believed made up of Shiite Moslem zealots loyal to Iran’s revolutionary patriarch Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

There were a few messages addressed to American professors Alann Steen, 48, of Boston, Robert Polhill, 54, of New York City, and Jesse Jonathan Turner, 40, of Boise, Idaho.

They were kidnapped from the campus of the U.S.-affiliated Beirut University College on Jan. 24, 1987.

Twenty-four foreigners, including eight Americans, are being held in Lebanon.

In a videotape released by his captors on Christmas Eve, Anderson said he had seen some of the Christmas cards his friends and countrymen sent to him, published by As-Safir.

In other developments, the U.N. Relief and Works Agency said thumbprints alleged to be those of two kidnapped Scandinavian employees provided by their captors were sent Sunday to forensic experts for verification.

The thumbprints were on a note left at a Western news agency in Beirut Saturday. The note failed to identify the abductors, but it said the two captives, Swede Jan Stening, 44, and Norwegian William Jorgensen, 58, would be freed within a week if their current interrogation proved their ″innocence.″

The note carried no specific charges of which the two captives should be innocent, however.

In Larnaca, Cyprus, a Danish official said it was ″well known that arms were found″ on a cargo ship that was seized Dec. 27 by Christian militiamen in Lebanon. The three Danes, three Poles, two Sri Lankans and a seaman from Trinidad aboard the vessel were released Saturday.

Ole Neustrup, Danish charge d’affaires to Syria, said the arms were aboard the ship, which was carrying foodstuffs. Neustrup accompanied the freed sailors from Lebanon after negotiating with their captors, members of the right-wing Lebanese Forces militia.

But Uwe Biel, captain of the frieghter Ingawebb, said he knew nothing about arms aboard the ship.

The Christian militia had accused the crew of unloading arms for the Druse Progressive Socialist Party militia Beirut before sailing into the Lebanese capital’s harbor, press reports said. The Druse militia is the main foe of the Christians in Lebanon’s nearly 13-year-old civil war.

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