| 13.7°C Belfast

Two British nationals held in Lebanon over 'abduction of two children'


The Foreign Office is providing consular assistance

The Foreign Office is providing consular assistance

The Foreign Office is providing consular assistance

Two British nationals have been arrested in Lebanon following the abduction of two children.

Police and Australian media said Lebanese authorities detained four Australians, including journalists, on suspicion they were involved in the abductions of two children in Beirut.

Officials also said a British citizen had been detained on suspicion that he planned to smuggle the children out of Lebanon on his boat, the Associated Press reported.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are providing consular assistance to two British nationals following their arrest in Beirut on 7 April."

The second British person has dual British and Australian nationality, and was travelling on a British passport.

The five are being questioned over the kidnapping of the son and daughter of a Lebanese man and an Australian woman.

The children have been living in Beirut since their father brought them from Australia last year.

Police said the kidnapping, in which the children were allegedly taken on Wednesday after an attack on their Lebanese grandmother as she was taking them to school near their home in Beirut, was part of a family dispute.

On Thursday, police first said the mother and the children were at the Australian Embassy, but later the Lebanese intelligence department declared the mother was detained and was being held by police with her children, the state-run National News Agency reported.

It did not say where they were found but added that the children were safe.

The Australian detainees include journalists working for Channel Nine's 60 Minutes.