Jean-Louis Normandin, 36, a television lighting technician, and Roger Auque, 31, a free-lance photographer, were released from separate cars outside the seaside Summerland Hotel, about 50 yards from waiting French Embassy officials and Syrian secret servicemen. The cars sped away quickly and the two men were rushed to the French Embassy in Christian East Beirut in bulletproof vehicles, with journalists and photographers racing behind.
Normandin had been held more than 20 months, Auque for more than 11 months. The Revolutionary Justice Organization had proclaimed its responsibility for Normandin's kidnaping, but no organization claimed Auque's abduction, and there was some confusion about who had been holding him. Auque told reporters at the Summerland Hotel: "I was with the Palestinians. Some are fighters, but others are terrorists."
The Islamic Jihad (Holy War), a group of militant, Lebanese Shia Muslims, has acknowledged kidnaping [Terry Anderson] and also claimed the abduction of the four Frenchmen still missing in Lebanon: Marcel Fontaine, 44, vice consul of the French Embassy in Beirut; Marcel Carton, 63, protocol officer at the embassy; Michel Seurat, 39, a researcher, and Jean-Paul Kauffman, 42, a journalist.