Ibrahim Comforts Families of Arsal Hostages who Back Down on Escalation

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The families of the so-called Arsal captives retracted on Wednesday their threats to escalate their measures, stressing that negotiations with the Islamist gunmen are on the right track.

“Not receiving any new threats indicates the serious manner of negotiations,” the relatives told reporters after meeting with General Security chief Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim.

The families expressed optimism after talks with Ibrahim, warning that any negligence by the state will compel them to escalate.

“We postponed our escalation,” they announced, a day after threatening to step up endeavors within 24 hours to press the state to “seriously” deal with the case of their sons, who were taken hostage by Islamist militants seven months ago.

“Even people will be targeted with our measures… we will not only close roads,” the relatives warned.

Negotiations with the al-Qaida-affiliate al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State group became discrete after the government urged the families to remain mum about the mediation in the case to ensure the release of their sons.

The families met on Tuesday with Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat, who failed to soothe their fears.

The policemen and soldiers were abducted by the Islamist gunmen in the wake of battles in the eastern border town of Arsal in August.

A few of them have since been released, four were executed, while the rest are still being held.

The hostage-takers had warned several times the Lebanese authorities that they would kill more captives if they did not meet their demands.

Among their demands is the release of Islamist prisoners in Lebanon.

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