Thursday, April 7, 2016

Children kidnapped in Beirut, Lebanese police detains Australian TV crew

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Two children were kidnapped in Hadath, on the southern outskirts of Beirut, in broad daylight. Soon after, a '60 Minutes Australia' TV crew was detained by Lebanese police.

Last night, Lebanese TV channel Al-Jadeed broadcasted footage of the children – a 6 years old girl and a 4 years old boy – being violently abducted (video below). Their grandmother, from whom the children were snatched, said kidnapers were filming the scene.

Interviewed by reporter Nawal Berri, she declared that kidnappers hit her on the head, beat up the maid, before forcing the children into their car.

Later on, Lebanese police detained an Australian TV crew in relation to the kidnapping.

"A spokeswoman from Channel 9 said [60 Minutes] reporter Tara Brown, producer Steven Rice and two camera operators were detained overnight in Beirut", ABC Australia reported on its website. "It is believed the team was in Lebanon filming a story about the recovery of two Australian children who were taken there by their Lebanese father."

Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop confirmed the government was seeking information on the incident: "I confirm that DFAT [Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade] has been in contact with Channel 9 with regard to reports that an Australian TV crew has been detained in Lebanon," she said. "We are urgently seeking to confirm the crew's whereabouts and welfare, and have offered all appropriate consular assistance".

Until now, the fate and whereabouts of the children are unknown.

> ALSO READ: What we know about the Beirut child kidnapping case and why it's important