Lebanese TV shows video of abducted Turkish pilots

Agence France-Presse
The two Turkish Airlines employees say they wish they were with their families for Eid al-Adha

STILL CAPTIVES. Turkish Airlines pilot Murat Akpinar (right) and his co-pilot Murat Agca were kidnapped on August 9, 2013 in Beirut. Photo from Agence France-Presse/Ihlas News Agency

BEIRUT, Lebanon – Two Turkish pilots kidnapped in Beirut in August were shown in a video broadcast by Lebanese television channel LBC on Tuesday, October 15, saying they wished they could be at home.

Murat Akpinar and Murat Agca, both Turkish Airlines employees who were kidnapped on Beirut’s airport road on August 9, appeared in good health but pale and nervous.

Both said they were well, but wanted to be with their families for Eid al-Adha, the Muslim holiday that began on Tuesday in most of the Islamic world.

“My name is Murat Akpinar, today is 14th October 2013, there is only one day before Bayram (Eid). I would like to be at my home. I am fine,” Akpinar said.

“My name is Murat Agca. Today is the 14th of October, which is the day before Bayram,” Agca added afterwards.

“I am safe and sound. I miss my family, my children and my country.”

Both men spoke in English and sported beards in the 32-second recording, filmed against a plain wall that gave no indication of their whereabouts.

The video appeared to have been filmed on Monday, but was broadcast for the first time on Tuesday, as much of the Islamic world began celebrating the holiday.

On August 30, shortly after their kidnap, an audio recording purportedly of the two men was released.

In it, the men said they were in good health and were waiting for Turkey to secure their release.

The pilots’ kidnapping was claimed by a previously unknown group, the Zuwwar Imam Ali al-Rida.

The group demanded Ankara use its influence over the Syrian opposition to win the release of 9 Lebanese Shiites being held by Syrian rebels.

The Lebanese went missing in the northern Syrian town of Aazaz in May 2012.

Their relatives have repeatedly threatened Turkish interests in Lebanon, accusing Ankara of failing to put enough pressure on the Syrian opposition. – Rappler.com

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