Lebanon detains Australian TV crew over 'child abduction'

Lebanon detains Australian TV crew over 'child abduction'
2 min read
07 April, 2016
Police investigate claims of armed assault as an Australian mother takes her 'abducted' children into hiding.
Australian reporter Tara Brown has been named as one of those detained in Beirut [Getty]
Lebanese authorities have detained an Australian TV crew on Thursday after an attempted "child recovery" operation, allegedly involving a gunman and an assault on a grandmother.

The crew from the 60 Minutes current affairs programme were in Beirut filming an operation by a private child recovery agency, involving two children from Australia who were in Lebanon with their father.

Local news outlets named reporter Tara Brown and producer Steven Rice as among those arrested.

"We are urgently seeking to confirm the crew's whereabouts and welfare, and have offered all appropriate consular assistance," Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said in a statement.

A video aired on the country's Channel Nine News, which hosts 60 minutes, shows the moment that the two children were taken from their paternal grandmother at a Beirut bus stop.
The two children involved, six-year-old Lahela and three-year-old Noah, are now thought to be in hiding in Beirut with their mother, Sally Faulkner.

Prior to the operation, Faulkner appeared on Australian television and claimed that her estranged husband, Ali el Amine, had failed to return their two children to Australia after a holiday to Lebanon last year.

"Every day I talk to her I hear such sadness, and she [Lahela] tells me shes me she's lonely, because her grandma speaks Arabic... she hasn't learnt it, he [el Amine] didn't teach them that," the mother-of-two told a TV interviewer.

Lebanese police are currently investigating claims that the recovery crew were armed, and that the childrens' grandmother Ibtisam el Amine had been struck "on the head with a gun".
Sally Faulkner's wherabouts in Beirut are unknown, and it is unclear how the mother from Brisbane will attempt to get her children out of Lebanon without their passports.