Police use water cannons to break up protest by families of soldiers kidnapped by militants

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BEIRUT — Police used water cannons to break up a protest Friday by relatives of several kidnapped Lebanese soldiers after the protesters blocked a main highway in the capital.

Security forces beat several protesters and some journalists as they broke up the demonstration.

The Islamic State group and al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front in Syria seized some 20 Lebanese soldiers and police officers in August during a cross-border raid. They have already killed three of the captives, beheading two of them.

Friday's protest came a day after Nusra Front threatened to kill one of the soldiers. The families are demanding that the government negotiate seriously with the militants — who are demanding the release of Islamist prisoners from Lebanese jails.

Lebanon's Interior Minister Nohad Machnouk said blocking roads "is not the answer."

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