Ex-Envoy to Lebanon May Have Been Kidnapped

Ex-Envoy to Lebanon May Have Been KidnappedEx-Envoy to Lebanon May Have Been Kidnapped

Former ambassador to Lebanon Ghazanfar Roknabadi, who has been missing since a crush during the hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, may have been kidnapped, his brother says.

In an interview with Press TV on Thursday, Ahmad Roknabadi referred to the 2013 twin bombings outside the Iranian Embassy in the Lebanese capital Beirut, saying that Saudi citizens and people linked to the so-called Islamic State terrorist group were behind the explosions.

"So all these [incidents] have made us very worried that this … happening in Saudi Arabia may be related to all those [that] happened before and maybe he has been kidnapped in Saudi Arabia," Roknabadi said, speaking about his brother.

More than two dozen people, including Iran's cultural attaché in Beirut, were killed and at least 150 others injured in November 2013 when two explosions struck near the Iranian Embassy in southern Beirut.

Following the incident, the so-called Abdullah Azzam Brigades claimed responsibility for the bombings. The group's Saudi leader, Majid al-Majid, was arrested in early January 2014 and died days later of poor health in a Lebanese jail. Majid was a high-profile terrorist also wanted by the US and some other countries. Elsewhere in the interview, Roknabadi held Saudi officials accountable for the tragic incident in Mina, near Mecca, where the stoning-of-the-devil ritual is performed. Also on Thursday, a senior Iranian diplomat said Tehran is following up on the fate of the former Iranian ambassador through international bodies.

"The case is being pursued through the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross," Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told IRNA.

Saudi Arabia claims nearly 770 people were killed in the September 24 crush in Mina, while officials at Iran's Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization say about 4,700 people, including 464 Iranian pilgrims, lost their lives in the incident. About 30 Iranians are still missing.