Tripoli, 4 August:
Tehran has criticised the Libyan government for failing to protect the seven Iranians who were kidnapped in Benghazi on . . .[restrict]Tuesday.
Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs, urged the Tripoli administration to take all possible action to free the abductees, who were members of a delegation from the Iranian Red Crescent.
On Wednesday, someone purporting to represent the kidnappers claimed responsibility for the abductions.
An official who has been in contact with the group, which he did not name, confirmed the kidnappers were Islamic extremists. He said he had been told the Iranians had been seized for interrogation, to ensure their visit was not an attempt to spread Shiite Islam.
The kidnap happened at one o’clock on Tuesday morning as the group returned to the Tbestsi Hotel from the headquarters of the Libyan Red Crescent, the organisation that had invited the delegation to Libya.
In a statement , the Libyan Red Crescent said: “The Libyan Red Crescent implores the group who detained the delegation to set them free, in appreciation of the aid and support given by the Iranian Red Crescent during the 17 February revolution.” [/restrict]