An unknown group today provided documents belonging to a four-man French television crew kidnaped last week and claimed to be holding them as a warning to France.
Other Muslim hard-liners earlier released a heart-rending videotape of three other French hostages but denied reports they had met with a French envoy sent to negotiate for the hostages' release.
A group known as the Revolutionary Justice Organization said in a message today: "We declare that we have kidnaped the four French journalists as a warning to the French government and in the hope the French people will put an end to all French practices in Lebanon."
Photocopies of IDs
The statement, delivered to a Western news agency in Beirut, was accompanied by photocopies of ID cards of two of the journalists, Pierre Jean Louis Normandin and Georges Hansen.
They were abducted March 8 with correspondent Philippe Rochot, 39, and soundman Aurel Cornea, 54, after filming a rally by the radical Shia Hezbollah (Party of God) movement in Beirut's southern suburbs. All four work for the Antenne 2 network.
"The sufferings of our people in Lebanon are a result of the intervention of imperialist countries . . . and the injustice and despotism planted by successive French governments in the whole region," said the statement.
The pro-Iranian Islamic Jihad, which is believed to be holding at least three other Frenchmen, denounced French diplomatic efforts to secure their release in an earlier statement to a Western television network.
Videotape of 3 Hostages
"Sending envoys is nothing but a trick aimed at deceiving the French people," the statement said. The Jihad statement, accompanied by a six-minute, black-and-white videotape of three French hostages, came hours after a French mediator, Razah Raad, reported progress in his negotiations with the kidnapers.
"All that has been said about encounters and meetings with us is not true," the Jihad said. "We have not and will not meet any French envoys, official or unofficial, as long as we do not get a positive and clear answer regarding our demands."
The videotape with the message showed three French hostages--all of them looking extremely tired.
The first to appear was Marcel Fontaine, the French Embassy vice consul kidnaped in Beirut on March 22 last year.
'We Are Innocent Victims'
"We are innocent victims and do not have to pay for things we had nothing to do with," he said. "Here we are, and this is how it will remain as long as the (French) government persists in its policies."
Marcel Carton, a French Embassy attache abducted on the same day as Fontaine, and Jean-Paul Kauffmann, a French journalist kidnaped May 22 last year, also appeared on the tape, making appeals for their freedom.
Fontaine, like the other hostages on the videotape, made no reference to the Islamic Jihad claim of March 5 that it had "executed" its fourth French hostage, researcher Michel Seurat.
Hostage Kauffmann, who appeared second, spoke of "the four of us."
Carton, addressed his wife, Denise, and children, and called on the French government to "get us out of here."