Kidnapped Iranians Set Free in Libya

The 7 Iranian Red Crescent workers who were kidnapped in Libya’s Eastern city of Benghazi in August were set free on Saturday and will return home in coming hours, Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi announced Saturday evening.

“The seven Iranian citizens who were abducted in Libya have been released and handed over to the Iranian embassy in Tripoli,” the Iranian foreign minister said, adding that the freed Iranian nationals “will return to Iran in the next few hours”.

Salehi noted the extensive efforts made for the freedom of the 7 aid workers in the last two months, and said, “Fortunately, the 7 Iranian hostages in Libya were freed 65 days after their abduction and were handed over to the Iranian embassy officials in Tripoli following intensive contacts and talks with Libyan officials and the local officials of Benghazi.”

Salehi said all the seven aid workers are fully healthy and in good shape, adding that and the necessary measures have been taken for their return.

Earlier today Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Hassan Qashqavi told FNA that the seven aid workers had a third phone contact with their families.

“The kidnapped staff of the (Iranian) Red Crescent in Libya had a phone talk with their families last night for the third time and declared their healthiness,” Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Consular, Parliamentary and Expatriates’ Affairs Hassan Qashqavi told FNA Saturday morning.

Late in September, the Iranian delegation present at the 67th UN General Assembly meeting in New York held several meetings with the UN and Libyan officials to discuss the fate of the Iranian aid workers.

Speaking to FNA last Saturday, Head of Iran’s Red Crescent Society Aboulhassan Faqih said he had held negotiations with the UN Undersecretary-General to in line with his efforts to set the 7 Iranian Red Crescent workers free.

He added that the Iranian foreign minister and his Libyan counterpart Ashour bin Khayal also discussed the latest developments in the efforts made by the two countries to free the Iranian workers.

In various meetings, the Libyan officials had assured Iran of pursuing the fate of the Iranian aid workers.

The Libyan Red Crescent said in a statement in August that armed men kidnapped a seven-member delegation from the Iranian Red Crescent visiting Benghazi.

The Iranians were heading to the Tibesti hotel when an armed group intercepted them. They were loaded into a different car and whisked away to an unknown location, the statement added.

The driver of the vehicle, a local volunteer, was not taken. The delegation arrived in Libya early August at the invitation of the Libyan Red Crescent.

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