Turkish Airlines staff abducted in Lebanon

Friday 09 August 2013 13.23
The rest of the crew are safe in a Beirut hotel and will return to Turkey shortly
The rest of the crew are safe in a Beirut hotel and will return to Turkey shortly

A Turkish Airlines pilot and his colleague have been abducted in Lebanon by armed men.

The two Turks were seized at around 3am (1am Irish time) when kidnappers stopped a vehicle carrying the airline crew to their hotel in the capital Beirut.

The Turkish foreign ministry and the airline said they were in close contact with Lebanese authorities.

However, there is no immediate information on who was behind the abductions or on the condition of the two airline staff.

The rest of the crew are safe in a Beirut hotel and will return to Turkey shortly.

Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Levent Gumrukcu said they immediately contacted the Lebanese authorities at every level who are "conducting a very comprehensive investigation".

"As yet, we do not know who did it or for what purpose."

Turkey has supported rebels battling to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and may have influence over fighters who captured Lebanese Shias close to the Turkish border in northern Syria last year.

A senior Lebanese political source told Reuters earlier this week that authorities had information that relatives of the Lebanese detainees were planning to take Turkish hostages.

However, Lebanese media quoted a spokesman for the families as saying they had no link to today's incident.