A French diplomat was kidnaped by three gunmen today and two other employes of the French Embassy were reported missing and presumed abducted in a new wave of kidnapings apparently stemming from a fundamentalist Moslem campaign to drive all foreigners out of Beirut.
Marcel Fontaine, vice consul of the French mission, was abducted by three men while walking from his home in the west Beirut section of the capital to his office and driven away in a blue BMW sedan similar to that used in three other kidnapings in recent months.
Later, an embassy spokesman said that two other employes in the mission failed to report to work and were presumed kidnaped.
The spokesman, Marcel L'Augel, identified the two other employes as Marcel Carton, 62, a protocol officer, and his daughter, Danielle Perez, 34, who works as a secretary in the cultural section.
Fontaine, who has lived in Beirut since the fall of 1982, had worked in embassy offices both in west Beirut and east Beirut, French Embassy officials said.
In telephone calls to western news agencies, Islamic Jihad, a shadowy umbrella organization of fundamentalist Moslem groups loyal to Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, claimed responsibility for the kidnapings.
One of the callers claiming responsibility for the abductions Friday said they were in retaliation for France's support of Iraq in the Iranian-Iraqi war and for a reported recent arms deal with Saudi Arabia "to exchange Mirage planes for Saudi oil," United Press International reported.
The reported deal, which has been the subject of speculation in French newspapers but not been confirmed by French officials, involves a proposal to sell 40 Mirage fighter jets to Saudi Arabia in exchange for up to 73 million barrels of oil, UPI added.
[Another, earlier caller cited only Fontaine, calling him "an agent of French colonialism."]
In a statement last week, Islamic Jihad said, "We are definite that Islamic Beirut is full of agents from all sides and accordingly we are working day and night to purge our region of any subversive elements."
The disappearance of Fontaine, Carton and Perez brought to six the number of kidnaped foreigners in predominantly Moslem west Beirut in the last nine days.
Lebanese security sources have suggested that a campaign is under way to intimidate Beirut's foreign community by kidnaping foreign nationals who have visible positions in the foreign community.
One Lebanese politician, who himself was kidnaped last year and held for more than a week before being released, said that at least three teams of professional "hit men" specializing in kidnapings have been contracting with various extremist Islamic groups to follow the movements of foreigners in the capital and abduct them for a fee.
"They have no ideology or personal interest in their work. They simply offer a nice clean grab without any shooting . . . ," said the politician, who spoke on the condition that he not be identified.
An upsurge of threats by Islamic organizations followed the March 12 U.S. veto of a Lebanese resolution in the U.N. Security Council condemning Israel for occupation practices in south Lebanon. France backed the measure.
The U.S. Embassy subsequently evacuated virtually all of its remaining embassy employes.
The most recent abductions began March 14, when Briton Geoffrey Nash was kidnaped near his home. On the same day, a Dutch Jesuit, Nicolas Kluiters, disappeared while traveling in the Bekaa Valley in eastern Lebanon, and is still missing. Another Briton, Brian Levick, was abducted the next day, and Saturday gunmen seized Terry A. Anderson of The Associated Press.
In addition, four Americans and a Saudi diplomat have been seized during the last 14 months.