Joelle Kauffmann, wife of one of the French hostages held in Beirut, was flying back home to Paris on Thursday after thanking his kidnapers for letting him send her a Christmas Day letter.
Kauffmann, who spent her second Christmas in Lebanon to be closer to her captive husband, Jean-Paul, said: "I am very happy to know he is still alive. The letter was a big Christmas present--but still I want to get him free."
Her husband, a journalist, was kidnaped May 22, 1985. The clandestine pro-Iranian Islamic Jihad (Islamic Holy War) group claims to be holding him with two other Frenchmen, Marcel Carton and Marcel Fontaine.
On Wednesday night, an international news agency in Beirut received copies of handwritten letters from Carton and Fontaine, both diplomats, as well as of Kauffmann's letter to his wife.
She told a reporter after reading the letter at her hotel in Muslim West Beirut that she had telephoned her children in Paris to tell them about their father's message. "They were very happy," she said.
She described the kidnapers as "good men who made a good gesture for Christmas. I thank them for their kind gesture. But I am waiting for my husband to be released."