11:25 GMT +313 December 2019
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    Syrian troops man a military position off a main road in eastern Lebanon's Bekaa Valley

    Five Czech Citizens Disappear in Lebanon, Car Found at Syrian Border

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    Five citizens of the Czech Republic disappeared in the Beqaa valley in eastern Lebanon, their car was found near Lebanon’s border with Syria.

    Greta Ramelli (L) and Vanessa Marzullo, two Italian aid workers taken hostage in Syria five months ago, arrive at Ciampino airport in Rome January 16, 2015
    © REUTERS / Alessandro Bianchi
    PRAGUE (Sputnik) — Five Czech nationals went missing near Lebanon’s border with Syria, the Czech Republic’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Michaela Lagronova said Saturday.

    "Five citizens of the Czech Republic disappeared in the Beqaa valley in eastern Lebanon. The Lebanese police found an empty car with local license plates, in which personal belongings of these people, including Czech passports, were found. Their local taxi driver also disappeared with them," Lagronova said in a statement.

    The car was found near Lebanon’s border with Syria, which prompted speculations that the Czech nationals aged 25 to 47 years were kidnapped by extremists.

    The spokeswoman added that the Foreign Ministry will call an emergency meeting regarding the incident in the coming hours.

    In March 2011, seven Estonian citizens were kidnapped in the same area. They were held captive for 113 days and later released following the Lebanese security services’ interference. A terrorist organization allegedly linked with al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.

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    Michaela Lagronova, Lebanon, Syria
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