Lebanese media has confirmed that Hezbollah elements kidnapped Matt Kinston, a British journalist, and Stella Manner, a German journalist, for more than two hours, on the road to Beirut airport while they were covering the fuel crisis at a well-known station.
The source has told the Israeli website I24 that the kidnapping took place during the afternoon hours, while the two journalists were working to cover the Lebanese situation, by men who identified themselves as Hezbollah. The men asked Kinston for his phone and passport, refusing to display his press card with a Lebanese website as a freelance reporter, in addition to his work for several well-known Arab and international newspapers and websites.
Kinston went to Al-Aytam station on the airport road, which is the only station that opened its doors, to cover the crisis, accompanied by the German journalist Maner, who was also kidnapped with him. They headed to the station after it appealed to the security forces to intervene to organize the filling process of fuel.
While Kinston was arguing with the militants about the presence of the security forces, he was able to send a voice message on his phone to the director of his work site. It was clear from the voice that a person spoke Arabic, threatening to seize the phone of the British journalist, even without his consent. While the German journalist sent her location to one of her friends, and it appears that she was on the airport road before contact with her was lost.
The management of Al-Aytam stations announced in a statement that, since the beginning of the crisis, it has been working hard to secure fuel, even in small quantities, in order to continue working as much as possible. This statement prompted the two journalists to head to the station in the hope of writing a story about the suffering of the Lebanese while waiting to get fuel for their cars, in light of a major economic and social crisis.
Website sources have indicated that the Lebanese General Security intervened to release the two journalists after urgent contacts from the two embassies of their country, forcing the militias to release them, after interrogating them about their presence in Beirut in conjunction with the visit of Ismail Haniyeh, the head of the political bureau of Hamas.
The case of the kidnapping of the two Western journalists recalled the file of Hezbollah militia kidnapping foreign journalists and academics in Beirut, killing a number of them since the mid-1980s, and exchanging some of them for terrorists arrested in Europe.
It is noteworthy that after 2006, when Hezbollah and its allies kidnapped foreign journalists in Beirut and its suburbs, such as journalist Christopher Hitchens, who was violently, attacked in February 2009 at the hands of a Hezbollah militias.