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The World

A senior pro-Iranian cleric said in Beirut that the nine Americans believed held hostage in Lebanon are unlikely to be freed before the U.S. presidential election next month. “My impression is that such issues are not far away from the atmosphere of the U.S. elections but could be delayed until after the polls due to the shadowy complexities of behind-the-scenes talks between states,” said Sheik Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, spiritual mentor of the pro-Iranian Hezbollah (Party of God). Fadlallah said in a television interview that he is still trying to win freedom for the Americans and seven other Westerners believed held in Lebanon. He denied they are being held by Hezbollah.


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