Priest Released in Syria

Captors released a Franciscan priest who was among about 20 Christians kidnapped from a Syrian village near the border with Turkey. Father Hanna Jallouf was being held under house arrest in a religious residence in Knayeh, a small Christian village in northwestern Syria, according to a statement on Oct. 9 from the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land. The statement offered no further details, and there was no immediate word on the others who were abducted with him on the night and early morning of Oct. 5-6. Brigades linked to the Al-Nusra front, a branch of Al Qaeda that operates in Syria, are believed to have been behind the abductions. A statement from the Latin Patriarchate said there had been no contact with the priest or his captors and that Franciscan nuns who were in a convent in the village took refuge in neighboring homes. Father Jallouf was one of two priests living in the village of 700 Catholic families. The kidnappings come as fighting between rebel forces and the Syrian army increased in northern sections of the country in early October.

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