An Iraqi priest has been released, two weeks after he was abducted on his way back to his parish in Yacoubieh in Syria’s Idlib province, reports the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land.
Franciscan friar Dhiya Azziz, 41, apparently disappeared from Lattakia, Syria, on 23 December after visiting his family (refugees in Turkey). Released on 4 January, he is now in Damascus.
No further details were given “due to confidentiality”, but the Custody thanked “all those who helped us to liberate him”.
ACN reports that Fr. Azziz suffered “extreme cold” in captivity and was in a state of “severe exhaustion” upon his release.
Fellow Franciscans told ACN they were “giving thanks to God” that he was freed.
Fr. Azziz has been kidnapped by jihadists once before, in July 2015, when he was also released after a few days.