Gunmen who seized the Canadian Embassy in Beirut on Monday (23 February) released eight female hostages held for more than three hours in the fifteen story building.
Gunmen who seized the Canadian Embassy in Beirut on Monday (23 February) released eight female hostages held for more than three hours in the fifteen story building. However, the five Lebanese gunmen, led by a man identified by police as Mohammed Haymour, continued to hold fifteen men, including the Charge-d'Affaires, Alan Sullivan.
Haymour was demanding the return of his four children from Canada, in return for the lives of the hostages. Diplomats in touch with the Lebanese authorities said Haymour also wanted 450,000 Canadian dollars (about 180,000 pounds sterling) in compensation for land which he believed was illegally taken from him in Canada.
The diplomats said they understood unofficially that the property in question was an island near Vancouver.
The gunmen's grievances were not fully spelled out in the first hours of the seige, but the embassy official said there had been threats to kill hostages unless the unspecified demands were met.
About one hundred men surrounded the embassy building, among them Lebanese army sharpshooters, Palestinian military police, and an assortment of gunmen in civilian clothes, some with armbands sporting the insignia of left-wing parties.
The embassy is in a fashionable part of Beirut where Palestinian troops were made responsible for law and order after the Lebanese civil war.
Police sources said Haymour had emigrated to Canada where he had make a lot of money. But after quarrelling with his wife he had been put in a mental home and then deported, leaving his children and wealth in Canada.
(Later, Haymour and other four gunmen surrendered to police and appeared before a military court. None of the hostages were harmed. The drama lasted eight hours.
The Canadian Charge d'Affaires, Mr. Sullivan, told reporters his government would look into Raymour's grievances.)