World

Families of Lebanese soldiers held captive by Islamic militants block roads following threats

  • Inaam Omar, 50, aunt of one Lebanese soldier Ziad Omar who was kidnapped by Islamic militants, holds his picture during a demonstration to demand action to secure the captives' release, in front of government heaquarters in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, Nov. 17, 2014. The militants, including the al-Qaida linked Nusra Front and the extremist Islamic State group, are holding some 20 Lebanese soldiers and policemen hostages since August, when they briefly overran a Lebanese border town. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

    Inaam Omar, 50, aunt of one Lebanese soldier Ziad Omar who was kidnapped by Islamic militants, holds his picture during a demonstration to demand action to secure the captives' release, in front of government heaquarters in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, Nov. 17, 2014. The militants, including the al-Qaida linked Nusra Front and the extremist Islamic State group, are holding some 20 Lebanese soldiers and policemen hostages since August, when they briefly overran a Lebanese border town. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)  (The Associated Press)

  • Relatives of Lebanese soldiers held hostage by Islamic militants burn tires, during a demonstration to demand action to secure the captives' release, in front of the government headquarters in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, Nov. 17, 2014. The militants, including the al-Qaida linked Nusra Front and the extremist Islamic State group, are holding some 20 Lebanese soldiers and policemen hostages since August, when they briefly overran a Lebanese border town. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

    Relatives of Lebanese soldiers held hostage by Islamic militants burn tires, during a demonstration to demand action to secure the captives' release, in front of the government headquarters in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, Nov. 17, 2014. The militants, including the al-Qaida linked Nusra Front and the extremist Islamic State group, are holding some 20 Lebanese soldiers and policemen hostages since August, when they briefly overran a Lebanese border town. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)  (The Associated Press)

  • Iman Alsaid, a relative of Lebanese soldier Khalid Hassan who was kidnapped by Islamic militants, burns tires during a demonstration to demand action to secure captive soldiers' release, in front of government headquarters in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, Nov. 17, 2014. The militants, including the al-Qaida linked Nusra Front and the extremist Islamic State group, are holding some 20 Lebanese soldiers and policemen hostages since August, when they briefly overran a Lebanese border town. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

    Iman Alsaid, a relative of Lebanese soldier Khalid Hassan who was kidnapped by Islamic militants, burns tires during a demonstration to demand action to secure captive soldiers' release, in front of government headquarters in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, Nov. 17, 2014. The militants, including the al-Qaida linked Nusra Front and the extremist Islamic State group, are holding some 20 Lebanese soldiers and policemen hostages since August, when they briefly overran a Lebanese border town. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)  (The Associated Press)

Relatives of Lebanese soldiers held hostage by Islamic militants have burned tires and closed roads in downtown Beirut Monday in an escalation of their ongoing sit-in to secure their release.

Monday's protests began after the militants threatened to start killing the hostages within hours unless the government revokes sentences handed down to Islamist prisoners.

The militants, including the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front and the extremist Islamic State group, have been holding some 20 Lebanese soldiers and policemen hostage since August, when they briefly overran a Lebanese border town.

Since then, at least three have been killed by their captors. Families of remaining soldiers have pitched tents in downtown Beirut opposite the prime minister's office in an effort to pressure the government into mediating with the captors.