Dutch diplomats kidnapped in Lebanon

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The defence attaché and his assistant from the Dutch embassy in Damascus were briefly kidnapped two weeks ago near Baalbeck in Lebanon. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague confirmed the incident to World Service Thursday.

The group was working on a pre-arranged observation meeting. According to the Lebanese Central News Agency, the defence attaché was taken to Syria by armed men in a vehicle with tinted windows and no license plates. When the Dutch attaché identified himself to Syrian authorities, he and his assistant were immediately released.

According to diplomatic sources, the Dutch embassy has issued a warning to European colleagues. After the kidnapping of five Estonians in Baalbek, one of whom lives in Amsterdam, and an attack on Italian UNIFIL troops, EU diplomats are worried that Europeans will become targets for armed groups. 

The defence attaché and his assistant have returned to work.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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