BEIRUT, MAY 26 -- Kidnappers holding two American hostages blamed the United States today in the slaying of seven Palestinian workers in Israel last week and vowed to make the United States and Israel "pay the price."
However, the statement by the Organization of Islamic Jihad for the Liberation of Palestine did not directly threaten to harm the two hostages.
In another hostage development today, PLO leader Yasser Arafat reportedly said two Swiss Red Cross workers kidnapped in Lebanon seven months ago are alive, and he offered to help mediate their release.
The captors' Arabic-language statement, delivered to a Western news agency in Beirut, came with an instant picture of U.S. hostages Jesse Turner and Alann Steen. They were kidnapped Jan. 24, 1987, from Beirut University College.
The picture showed a smiling, bespectacled Turner wearing a bushy black beard and a striped pullover. Steen wore a dark jumpsuit and a beard, and his hair was slightly disheveled.
On April 22, the same group released Robert Polhill, a New Yorker and a lecturer in accounting who was kidnapped with Steen and Turner.
"America is directly responsible for shedding the blood of our people and their cause," the 18-line statement said, referring to the shooting deaths of seven Arab laborers in a Tel Aviv suburb last Sunday.