(ahv50) Tallinn confirms seven cyclists freed in Lebanon

14th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

Estonia's foreign ministry confirmed Thursday that seven of its citizens held for almost four months in Lebanon had been freed and were being cared for in the French embassy in Beirut.

"All seven Estonian citizens kidnapped in Lebanon in March were freed early Thursday morning," ministry spokeswoman Minna-Liina Lind told AFP.

"The seven Estonians are at the embassy of France at the moment" she added.

Earlier Thursday, a Lebanese police officer who had asked to remain anonymous told AFP all seven had been freed in the town of Arsal, in the eastern Bekaa Valley and appeared to be in good health.

The men, all in their 30s, were kidnapped on March 23 while on a cycling holiday in the same region.

The abductors -- believed to be a previously unknown fundamentalist group called Haraket Al-Nahda Wal-Islah (Movement for Renewal and Reform) -- had reportedly demanded a ransom.

© 2011 AFP

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