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HOSTAGE COULD BE FREED IF BRITAIN EXPELS RUSHDIE

At least one British hostage could be freed if the British government expelled author Salman Rushdie, accused by Iran of blaspheming Islam, a pro-Iranian religious leader said Saturday.

At the same time, Al Shiraa, a weekly Lebanese magazine connected to Syrian and Shiite fundamentalist circles, said in a brief report the issue of the British hostages has been revived as the result of moves and contacts by London's mission in Beirut.The report said Britain was making efforts to free its four nationals held in secret hideouts in Lebanon.

Hussein Al Musawi, interviewed by United Press International and the German News Agency DPA, said "Britain should make a goodwill gesture to achieve a breakthrough in the British hostages' dilemma."