Militant involved in OPEC kidnapping buried in Lebanon

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BEIRUT (Reuters) - Anis Naccache, a Lebanese former guerrilla fighter who was part of the team led by Carlos the Jackal that kidnapped oil ministers in 1975, was buried in Beirut following his death two days ago in Syria at the age of 70, witnesses said.

His body was draped in the Lebanese and Palestinian flags and mourner included officials from Lebanon's Hezbollah and radical Palestinian factions.

Naccache took part in the 1975 OPEC conference hostage-taking in Vienna led by Venezuelan guerrilla fighter Carlos the Jackal in which three people were killed.

He was later jailed in France after he was found complicit in an attempted assassination of Iran's former Prime Minister Shahpur Bakhtiar in Paris in 1980. He and his accomplices were pardoned by former President Francois Mitterrand in 1990.

Naccache, who died in a Damascus hospital from COVID-19, was a staunch supporter of Syrian President Bashar al Assad's bloody crackdown against peaceful protesters at the start of a 10-year conflict that descended into a civil war which has killed hundreds of thousands of civilians.

His last two decades were spent running a Beirut-based think-tank and regularly travelling to Damascus, where he was a frequent commentator on pro-Iranian news outlets, including Lebanese Hezbollah's al Manar television station.

Assad said in a condolence message to his family that Naccache "had spent his life a resistance fighter against occupation and a defender of Arab causes in both body and thoughts".

(Reporting Issam Abdullah and Laila Bassam, Writing by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Editing by Alex Richardson)