Happy Birthday Wish to U.S. Hostage through Lebanese TV
BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) _ Lebanon’s television stations Tuesday broadcast a video-taped birthday message to kidnapped AP journalist Terry Anderson from his relatives and friends in New York state.
But there was no way of knowing whether Anderson, chief Middle East correspondent for The Associated Press, was allowed by his captors to see the broadcast.
Anderson, a native of Lorain, Ohio, is one of six Americans missing in Lebanon. He turned 38 Sunday.
Two of Lebanon’s TV stations broadcast excerpts of a 15-minute video tape in which Anderson’s two sisters, father, brother and friends took turns to wish him a happy birthday.
The tape included scenes from a special service at the Baptist church in East Bethany, N.Y., in which the congregation, some sobbing, sang ″Happy Birthday.″
″It’s hurting and pretty hard to wish somebody a happy birthday in these circumstance,″ Anderson’s father, Glen, said in an emotion-choked voice on the tape.
″God bless you. Hurry home, son,″ he told his son, kidnapped March 17, 1985, in Moslem West Beirut.
″I’d like to show you a picture of your daughter, who was born in June,″ said Steve Holly, a friend of Anderson’s for 20 years, as the camera showed a photograph of the infant.
Anderson’s sister, Peggy Say, said: ″We’re all trying to do what we can to bring you home.″
Judy Blouin, Anderson’s other sister, her two children standing next to her, said: ″The kids are thinking of you every night. When we say our prayers, we say please bring Terry home.″
Islamic Jihad, a shadowy group believed made up of Shiite Moslem fundamentalists, has claimed responsibility for the abduction of eight Americans since March 1984.
Jeremy Levin, Beirut Bureau Chief for Cable Network News, escaped Feb. 13 after 11 months in captivity.
The Rev. Benjamin Weir, a Presbyterian minister, was freed from 16 months of captivity Sept. 14.
The kidnappers, who demand the release of 17 of their comrades jailed in Kuwait in connection with bomb attacks against French, American and Kuwaiti targets, claimed earlier this month that they have killed one hostage, U.S. diplomat William Buckley.
They said Buckley, 57, was killed in retaliation for an Israeli air raid on the Palestine Liberation Organization headquarters in Tunisia on Oct. 1 in which 65 Tunisians and Palestinians were killed. There has been no further word on this nor has his body been found.
The other kidnapped Americans are Peter Kilburn, a librarian at the American University of Beirut; the Rev. Lawrence Jenco, a Roman Catholic priest; David Jacobsen, director of the American University Hospital, and Thomas Sutherland, dean of agriculture at the university.