A Palestinian extremist group said Monday it has freed two children who were held hostage in Lebanon for more than a year with their French mother and several other foreigners.
"We freed the two French girls, and they will arrive in Paris aboard a plane during the coming few hours," said Walid Khaled, a spokesman for the Fatah Revolutionary Council who was quoted by the Voice of the Nation radio station.Khaled refused to give further details.
Relatives of Jacqueline Valente, the mother of the two children, had left Beirut earlier Monday, apparently disappointed that they were returning to France without the two children, whom the Palestinian extremists had promised to free.
Pascal Betille, the father of the girls, met with Khaled Sunday at the Palestinian refugee camp of Mar Elias in southern Beirut and was promised the two would be freed soon.
Brigitte Valente, grandmother of the two abducted children - Marie-Laure Betille, 7, and Virginie Betille, 6 - had taken with her the Christmas toys she had brought for the youngsters.
Jacqueline Valente, her two daughters and five Belgians were abducted from a yacht off the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip in November 1987 by the Fatah Revolutionary Council, a faction of the PLO led by Abu Nidal.