February 1, 2016 / 10:31 PM / in 2 years

Five Czechs missing in Lebanon since July have been found

PRAGUE/BEIRUT (Reuters) - Five Czech citizens who went missing in Lebanon in July are now with the Lebanese security services, a security source told Reuters on Monday.

The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the five, who went missing in eastern Lebanon last year, were found late on Monday.

“We will send a plane for them as soon as possible,” the Czech foreign minister, Lubomir Zaoralek, on a visit to Oman, said on his Twitter account.

The disappearance, which Czech authorities treated as a possible kidnapping, may have been related to organized crime and the drugs and arms trade, Lebanon’s interior minister said in July.

One of the missing Czechs was an attorney to Ali Fayad, a man of Lebanese origin who was in custody in the Czech Republic awaiting a decision on a U.S. extradition request.

The United States has accused Fayad of trying to sell arms and drugs to the Colombian guerrilla group FARC.

His Czech lawyer has traveled to Lebanon several times in relation to the case, according to his office.

The abandoned vehicle of the five Czech nationals and one Lebanese man who went missing was found near Kefraya, in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, in July. This incident was near to where seven Estonian cyclists were kidnapped in 2011 and held for four months.

Neither the security source nor the Czech ministry said if the Lebanese driver had also been found.

Reporting by Jan Lopatka; and Lisa Barrington; Editing by Leslie Adler

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