Sketches of Groups Holding Hostages in Lebanon With AM-Hostages, Bjt
NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) _ Most Western hostages in Lebanon are believed held by factions of Hezbollah, or Party of God, a fundamentalist Shiite Moslem group that gets considerable financial support from Iran.
Hezbollah works closely with units of Iranian Revolutionary Guards, stationed in Lebanon since Israel’s 1982 invasion, to build influence among the 1.2 million Shiites, Lebanon’s largest sect.
The factions are believed to be closely linked and may even be largely the same people using different cover names.
These are the groups claiming to hold the hostages:
- Islamic Jihad, or Islamic Holy War, says it has Terry A. Anderson, chief Middle East correspondent of The Associated Press, kidnapped March 16, 1985, and Thomas Sutherland, acting dean of agriculture at the American University of Beirut, abducted June 9 of that year. Anderson has been held longest of the Western hostages.
It has demanded the release of 17 comrades jailed in Kuwait for bombing the U.S. and French embassies in December 1983, some of whom are believed to be relatives of Islamic Jihad members. Two of the 17 were released after serving five-year prison terms.
Speculation has arisen that Islamic Jihad also kidnapped Anglican Church envoy Terry Waite, who disappeared Jan. 23, 1987, after leaving his hotel in Moslem west Beirut to negotiate for the release of American hostages. No claim of kidnapping has been made.
- Islamic Jihad for the Liberation of Palestine on Sunday freed Robert Polhill, who was a lecturer in accounting when kidnapped along with two other Americans from the U.S.-affiliated Beirut University College on Jan. 24, 1987. The group claims to hold the two others: Alann Steen, a communications teacher, and Jesse Turner, a visiting professor of mathematics and computer science.
It demands the release of Palestinian and Shiite Lebanese prisoners in Israel.
- The Revolutionary Justice Organization claimed responsibility for kidnapping Americans Joseph Cicippio, acting comptroller of the American University of Beirut, on Sept. 12, 1986, and Edward Tracy, a self-styled writer, on Oct. 19, 1986.
Statements from the organization threatened the men’s lives twice in 1988 - in retaliation for the U.S. Navy’s downing of an Iranian jetliner in the Persian Gulf in July and if foreign soldiers were sent to Lebanon because of problems over the election of a president in September.
- The Organization of the Oppressed on Earth claimed responsibility for kidnapping Marine Lt. Col. William R. Higgins on Feb. 17, 1988, while he served with a U.N. truce observer force, and said on July 31, 1989, he had been hanged. A videotape was released July 31, 1989, showing his body hanging from a gallows.
- Arab Revolutionary Cells-Omar Mukhtar Brigades said it kidnapped Frank Reed, the American director of the Lebanese International School, on Sept. 9, 1986.
- Revolutionary Organization of Socialist Moslems, believed to be a cover name for a faction of Palestinian terrorist mastermind Abu Nidal’s Fatah- Revolutionary Council, claimed to have abducted Alec Collett, a British journalist on assignment for a U.N. agency.
Collett was kidnapped March 25, 1985, and the group said April 23, 1986, that it hanged him because of British support for U.S. air raids on Libya eight days earlier. A videotape was released, showing a body hanging from a scaffold, but no corpse has been found.
- Cells of Armed Struggle claimed to have abducted Jack Mann, a Briton decorated as a fighter pilot in World War II, on May 12, 1989.
Seven other Westerners are missing and believed kidnapped, but no organizations have claimed responsibility.