BEIRUT, JAN. 7 -- The radical Palestinian group headed by terrorist Abu Nidal today suggested it had released or would release four Belgians held for more than three years.
The Fatah-Revolutionary Council said in a vaguely worded statement the release of Emmanuel Houtekins, 45; his wife, Godelieve, 51; and their two children, Laurent 20, and Valerie, 19, came in response to appeals by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. The captives are believed held in Libya.
The 30-line typewritten statement, signed by the group's Beirut spokesman, Walid Khaled, was distributed to the offices of a Western news agency. It did not mention a date or place for the release of the hostages.
The Fatah-Revolutionary Council claimed responsibility for capturing the four Belgians -- along with Houtekins' brother, Fernand; Fernand's French girlfriend, Jacqueline Valente; and her two daughters -- aboard a French yacht off the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip in November 1987.
The Palestinian group said the eight were collaborating with Israel's Mossad secret service. The hostages' friends deny the claim.
The Fatah-Revolutionary Council, which is backed by Libya, released Valente's two daughters on Dec. 30, 1988. Fernand Houtekins and Valente were freed April 10, 1990, along with an infant born to them in captivity.