BEIRUT, Lebanon – Kidnappers have released a 7-year-old Lebanese boy after a week they grabbed him as he was walking home from school in Iraq (search), the Lebanese Foreign Ministry said Friday. It was not immediately clear if a ransom was paid.
The kidnappers of Mohammed Hamad (search), the son of a Lebanese man who has lived in Iraq for 32 years, had initially demanded $150,000 for his release. Later they lowered the ransom to $70,000. A Foreign Ministry official said the government did not know whether the money had been paid.
Mohammed's father, Abdel-Ghani Hamad (search), told The Associated Press on Thursday that the kidnappers had threatened to behead his son if they did not receive $70,000 by Saturday.
"We're a poor family and I love Iraq," Abdel-Ghani Hamad told the AP.
More than 150 foreigners taken hostage in Iraq. Some kidnapping groups seek to extort ransom. Others have political objectives such as trying to force foreign troops and companies to withdraw from Iraq. At least 30 hostages have been killed.