Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah said on Friday that the abductors of the Lebanese pilgrims in Syria should address their grievances directly with him, and not through kidnapping innocent people.
“If your problem is with me, there are lots of ways to resolve it. We can resolve it any way you want, whether through war or through love and peace,” Nasrallah was quoted by NOW Lebanon as having said during speech televised in commemoration of late Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini.
“Using the innocent pilgrims as hostages to resolve the problem is a great injustice,” he added.
A previously unknown armed group calling itself the “Syrian Revolutionaries — Aleppo Province” said on Thursday that it is holding the Shiite pilgrims, who went missing last week.
“The kidnapped Lebanese are being looked after by us and are in good health,” the group said in a statement received by the Al-Jazeera news network. “Negotiations for their release are possible as soon as Nasrallah apologizes.”
“Our problem is not with any particular community but with those who assist in the suppression of the uprising,” the group added.
The dozen or so returning pilgrims went missing on May 22 in the northern Syrian province of Aleppo. Last week it was reported that the pilgrims were freed and had arrived in Turkey, but those reports were later denied.
Beirut said last week that it had asked Turkey to help free the kidnapped pilgrims.