Two suspects shot dead as hunt for kidnappers heats up

  • 2011-09-20
  • TBT Staff

Two videos were released while the men were held by the kidnappers.

TALLINN -- Two suspects have been shot dead in Lebanon as the hunt for the men who kidnapped 7 Estonian cyclists earlier this year intensifies.

The two men, Mohammad Zarifi and Kinaan Yassin, were killed by Lebanese security forces in a midnight shootout on Sept. 20 in eastern Bekaa, Lebanese media reported.

It is the second shootout to take place Bekaa in under a week as police close in on the kidnappers. In that case, one person was wounded and one escaped capture.

Also earlier this week security forces investigating the case came under fire, but there were no injuries reported.

It is still unclear whether any ransom was paid for the hostages and what the motivation may have been for the kidnapping. All seven cyclists were released unharmed after being held for four months.

The seven men were abducted at gunpoint on March 23 near Zahle, Lebanon's third largest city, shortly after crossing over the border from Syria. Two videos were subsequently released in which they pleaded for help.