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February 21, 1986 - Image 13

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-02-21

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

13

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NEWS

Shiite Group
Kills Lebanese
Jewish Hostage

Paris (JTA) — The body of a
Jewish hostage shot and badly
beaten before his death was
found last Sunday in west
Beirut. Ibrahim Benesti, 54, is
the third Jewi6h hostage to be
murdered in two months by a
Shiite fundamentalist group.
The gang, "The Organization
of the Oppressed of the Earth,"
said they have kidnapped two
more Jewish hostages. In addi-
tion, they are believed to be
holding five other Jews.
Benesti's body was found
dumped near a vegetable mar-
ket in the Kaskas area which
borders the Green Line, separat-
ing de facto the Christian east
from the predominently Moslem
west Beirut. He had been shot
once in the back of the head but
medical examiners say he had
been badly tortured and beaten
before his "execution."
A statement found pinned on
the body said he had been killed
"for having been an Israeli spy"
and as an example "to all other
Israeli agents." Police found in
one of his pockets Polaroid
photographs showing the victim
and two other middle-aged
bearded men with visible scars
on their faces. They were iden-
tified as Yehouda and Yossef
Benesti, presumably members
of the same family.
Some reports from Beirut say
the dead man's actual name
might have been Ibrahim
Tinesti.
Two months ago, the Organ-
ization of the Oppressed of the
Earth murdered two other
Jewish hostages, Isaac Tarab,
69, and Haim Halala Cohen, 39.
Since these killings, most
members of .Beirut's already
small Jewish community are
said to have fled. Some reports
say there-are now less than 20
Jews left in Beirut.
The group had also claimed re-
sponsibility for the hijacking of
a TWA airliner to Beirut in June
1985. The hijackers had then
demanded that Israel set free all
Shiite prisoners held in Israel
and in south Lebanon. Israel
had refused to deal with them or
give in to their demands.
The statement found pinned
to their latest victim renewed
this demand. It said that 300
Shiites are being held prisoners
by the Israeli-backed South
Lebanon-Army in a camp near
the Israeli border. The SLA has
refused to free the prisoners it
holds in Khiam, some 20 miles
north of the border.
The group also said Benesti
had been killed to protest
"Israel's violation" of the El-
Aqsa mosque on the Temple
Mount in Jerusalem. It called
the victim "a pillar of Israeli es-
pionage in Lebanon." The dead
man was known, Jewish circles
said in Paris, as a quiet busi-
nessman who minded his own
business. He settled in Beirut,
coming from Sidon, 35 years
ago. It is not known if he was
married and had children.

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