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3 arrested in Lebanon in Turkish pilots' kidnapping

By Greg Botelho, CNN
updated 7:50 PM EDT, Sat August 17, 2013
Troops patrol the airport highway outside Beirut on August 9 following the kidnapping of two pilots working for Turkish Airlines.
Troops patrol the airport highway outside Beirut on August 9 following the kidnapping of two pilots working for Turkish Airlines.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Arrests made in the kidnapping of Turkish Airlines pilots, state news says
  • Gunmen had halted a bus near Beirut, then took away pilots
  • Others safely got to a hotel

(CNN) -- Lebanese authorities on Saturday arrested three people in connection with the kidnapping of two Turkish pilots, both of whom remain missing more than a week later.

The Turkish Airlines pilots were riding a bus heading from Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport to their hotel early August 9 when armed assailants stopped the bus, according to Turkey's foreign ministry.

Reports on the number of attackers -- who were riding in two vehicles -- varied from four to eight.

Lebanon's state-run National News Agency reported Saturday that three people had been arrested by the Internal Security Forces Information Branch "in connection" with the kidnapping.

It wasn't clear whether they were among the alleged kidnappers, or whether they were accused of being involved in some other fashion.

Turkish pilots kidnapped in Lebanon

Security agents questioned the driver as a witness, according to NNA.

Other airline employees on the bus made it safely to the hotel, Turkey's foreign ministry said.

"Our ministry and our embassy will exert intensive efforts in cooperation with the Lebanese authorities to ensure the liberation of our pilots and their return to Turkey," the ministry said last week.

CNN's Deanna Hackney and Ben Brumfield contributed to this report

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