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Kilburn, Peter (1924–1986)

Peter Kilburn, a librarian at the American University in Beirut, is believed to have been the first American hostage to be executed during the Lebanon hostage crisis.

Kilburn, who had worked for the American University library for more than 20 years, was reported missing after he failed to show up for work on December 3, 1984. He was last seen alive on November 30, 1984. Unlike most hostage takings, no group claimed responsibility for Kilburn's disappearance. During the 16 months Kilburn was missing, his name was notably absent from the various videos, letters, and messages sent by American hostages to their families and the U.S. government.

Little is known about the conditions in which Kilburn was held or how he was abducted. Some have suggested that Kilburn was kidnapped because he hired a Christian over two Shiites for a library position at the ...

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