BEIRUT, JAN. 26 -- The captors holding three Americans and an Indian kidnaped a year ago said today that the hostages' fate is being imperiled by Israel's stepped-up jailing of Palestinian prisoners in the occupied territories.
Release of the statement came two days after Beirut University College marked the Jan. 24, 1987, kidnaping of the four educators -- Alann Steen, Robert Polhill, Jesse Turner and Mithileshwar Singh.
The statement, from Islamic Jihad for the Liberation of Palestine, was accompanied by a photograph of Steen, looking thin and drawn, with a bandage around his left arm.
It was the second statement by the little-known group since the outbreak of anti-Israeli protests in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in December that prompted arrests of Palestinians by Israel.
"The matter is becoming more complicated due to an increase in the number of prisoners in Palestine and the lack of response to an offer for the release of 400 prisoners," the group said. Shiite Moslem leader Nabih Berri last year proposed freeing the four educators in exchange for 400 Arabs jailed in Israel but his offer was rejected.
The captors' statement, while not naming the Palestine Liberation Organization, derided its claim to be behind the revolt of Palestinian youths in Gaza and the West Bank.
It criticized Palestinian leaders, accusing them of "selling their revolution in the capitals of the world, stepping on its honor in nightclubs and gambling casinos."