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Two American journalists reported missing in Lebanon

Times Staff Writer

The families of two American journalists missing in Lebanon for several days are asking the public for help in finding them, U.S. officials said Wednesday.

Taylor Luck, 23, and Holli Chmela, 27, have been living in Amman, Jordan, and working as writers for the Jordan Times, an English-language daily newspaper.

They arrived in Beirut, the Lebanese capital, on Sept. 29 for a holiday and disappeared Oct. 1. They told an acquaintance that they were heading for the northern coastal cities of Byblos and Tripoli on a trip that was to take them through northern Syria and back to Jordan, according to a statement released by the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon.

Luck, who is from the Chicago area, and Chmela had planned to be back at work in Amman on Oct. 4.

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Chmela, who is from the Washington area, worked as a clerk for three years at the Washington bureau of the New York Times.

Northern Lebanon, which is favored by tourists for its verdant mountains, historic sites and Mediterranean beaches, has also become a hot spot of conflicts between Islamic extremists and the government.

Authorities suspect that Islamic militants were behind a Sept. 29 bomb explosion in Tripoli that killed seven people aboard a bus. After that attack, the U.S. Embassy suspended all travel by its personnel to the city and advised Americans to avoid it.

U.S. officials were collaborating with Lebanon’s Internal Security Force and diplomats in Amman, the Jordanian capital; Damascus, Syria’s capital; and Washington to find the two, according to the news release.

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daragahi@latimes.com


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