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Lebanese police arrest 2011 kidnapper of Estonians

Published: Updated:

Lebanese security officials say they’ve arrested the man behind the 2011 kidnapping of seven Estonian tourists.

The officials said Thursday that Hussein Hojeiri was detained two days ago in the eastern Bekaa Valley. They say he confessed to carrying out the kidnapping, purportedly on the orders of an Iraqi al-Qaeda figure. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government regulations.

Hojeiri was the main kidnapper. Another suspect was arrested earlier in the case.

The Estonians were cycling in the Bekaa Valley when armed men wearing masks kidnapped them in March 2011. They were released nearly four months later.

The officials say Hojeiri was also involved in the recent kidnapping of Lebanese citizen Hussein Jaafar, whose abduction led to a wave of kidnappings between tribesmen in the valley.