Snapshots of the American most recently kidnaped in Beirut were distributed today, purportedly by the Islamic Jihad group, accompanied by a statement that denied telephoned claims of Islamic Jihad responsibility for recent bombings in the Persian Gulf and the killing here last week of a British teacher.
Color Polaroid photographs delivered to foreign news agencies showed David P. Jacobsen, 54, director of the American University Hospital here, in an open-necked light-blue shirt posing in front of a white plastic sheet with a design of red leaves and flamingos. His face looked strained.
Jacobsen was kidnaped by six gunmen on May 28 outside the hospital, which has been crowded with casualties from the Shiite Moslem attacks on the Palestinian refugee camps here. He is one of six Americans being held captive, most of them apparently by Islamic Jihad. Little is known about the group but it is blamed for several terrorist acts against westerners, including bombings of U.S. Embassy buildings and the U.S. and French military barracks here.
The statement distributed with the photo, typewritten in Arabic, denied Islamic Jihad had killed British teacher Denis Hill, 54, found shot last Wednesday, and blamed the Central Intelligence Agency. Islamic Jihad also charged that the CIA was behind the attempted assassination on May 25 of the ruler of Kuwait, Sheik Jabir Ahmed Sabah, and two explosions in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on May 17 that killed one person.
The statement said these attacks "were by the hands of hit squads of the CIA. It is part of a plan to sabotage the Jihad organization's reputation."
An anonymous caller last week had told news agencies he was claiming responsibility for the shooting of Hill on behalf of Islamic Jihad. Similar calls had followed the bomb blasts in Riyadh and the attempted assassination in Kuwait, which killed three people but left the ruler only slightly bruised.
Islamic Jihad last month had warned of "catastrophic consequences" if 17 Islamic Jihad bombers were not freed from Kuwaiti jails. The organization demanded freedom for the prisoners in Kuwait in exchange for a commitment to release the western hostages.
Last month, press reports said mediation efforts by Arab countries with close ties to Iran to secure the release of the westerners collapsed. The message to the Iranian leadership was that there was a willingness to comply with the wishes of Islamic Jihad in return for official guarantees by Iran that the group would not attack Kuwait or its interests abroad and that all the hostages would be freed.
Iran, which has denied involvement in the kidnaping of the westerners, saw this as a trap to get it to acknowledge links with Islamic Jihad and turned it down. Since then, Iran's parliamentary speaker Hashemi Rafasanjani has described Islamic Jihad as a "Lebanese current that is sympathetic to the Iranian Islamic republic."