The spiritual leader of a pro-Iranian group associated with foreign hostages said Friday he wants the captives' ordeal ended soon, and a trade should be made for Arabs held in Israeli jails.
The statements were made by Ayatollah Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah of Hezbollah, or Party of God. At least four clandestine groups believed affiliated with pro-Iranian Hezbollah hold 15 foreigners, including nine Americans, hostage in Lebanon.Fadlallah said he "would like the hostages' file to be closed as soon as possible because it is a tragic humanitarian issue for these people (captives)."
In a reference to the United States, Fadlallah called on "the superpowers who are interested in freeing the hostages, to work on releasing the Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails who have committed no fault except their struggle to free their country."
"We wish that any humanitarian move to release the foreign hostages be also directed towards freeing the Arab prisoners on the bases of non-discriminating humanitarian aspect," he said.
The Islamic Jihad for the Liberation of Palestine, the pro-Iranian group that holds three Americans, has demanded the release of 400 Arabs detained in Israeli prisons in return for freeing the captives.