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Priest kidnapped by militants released

Tue 05 Jan 2016
By Hannah Tooley

A priest, who was reportedly kidnapped for a second time by Islamic militants, is now thought to have been released.

Fr Dhiya Aziz, of the Custody of the Holy Land mission agency, was serving in Yacoubieh before he failed to return to his parish on 23 December.

The mission group released a statement on its website, stating: "Today we received the communication that Father Dhiya Azziz has been liberated and that he is doing well.

"Due to confidentiality reasons we cannot give further details. We thank all those who helped us to liberate him."

It is not clear whether a ransom has been paid for his release.

Hundreds of Christian believers in the region have been kidnapped and a number of hostages have been released in recent months.

Church leaders in the area remain concerned about a number of other Christian leaders abducted in 2013, including Armenian Catholic priest Michel Kayyal, Greek Orthodox priest Maher Mahfouz, Syriac Orthodox Bishop Yohanna Ibrahim, Greek Orthodox Bishop Boulos Yaziji and Jesuit Paolo Dall'Oglio. 

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