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Lebanon hopes for return of kidnapped soldiers

As Lebanese media outlets report a deal with Jabhat al-Nusra for the release of 16 Lebanese soldiers kidnapped during the battle of Arsal in August, questions remain about support for the terrorist organization in Lebanese territory.
Relatives of Lebanese soldiers, who were captured by Islamist militants in Arsal, carry pictures of two of them during a protest demanding their release and pressuring the government to act, as they blocked a main road linking Tripoli to Halba, in al-Mhmara town, northern Lebanon August 30, 2014. Islamic State militants beheaded a Lebanese soldier who was one of 19 captured by hardline Syrian Islamists when they seized a Lebanese border town for few days this month, a video posted on social media showed on

BEIRUT — During the past week, the Lebanese media has been reporting that an imminent deal between the Lebanese authorities and armed groups will release Lebanese soldiers held hostage in the barren lands of Arsal since Aug. 2. Wadi Press even went so far as to confirm that the deal had materialized at the end of last week.

The press leaks prompted the Lebanese General Security Directorate, the body in charge of the negotiation process between the Lebanese authorities and the armed terrorist groups, to issue a response statement May 23.

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