Results tagged “Lebanon”
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Wanted Islamists Shadi al Mawlawi and Osama Abu Mansourd are thought to be forming a group in Tripoli with links to the Islamic State or the Al Nusrah Front. A Tripoli politician reported suspicious activity threatening his home after being criticized in social media by extremist groups. Former premier Saad Hariri said the Syrian National Coalition's report to the UN alleging abuses of Syrian refugees by the Lebanese Army should not have omitted to mention the recent kidnapping of some 35 Lebanese troops in the area. Another Lebanese politician claimed that the Free Syrian Army's intervention recently saved some of the kidnapped troops from being executed.
Abou Malek al Talleh, the Al Nusrah Front's emir for Qalamoun, warned that "jihadists are in their thousands across Lebanon, awaiting the permission to start the battle" and that Al Nusrah has "managed to break all the security barriers in all Lebanese regions," and he promised a quick solution to inmates of Roumieh Prison. A Lebanese media report said that Al Nusrah and the Islamic State are willing to swap over 20 kidnapped Lebanese troops for captured Islamist fighters. Al Nusrah sent voice recordings of kidnapped soldiers to their families. Turkey has refused to help negotiate the release of the kidnapped soldiers. Tensions are high in Arsal, where the Army has reportedly arrested 450 suspected Islamist fighters, families of kidnapped troops are protesting for their release, and the Muslim Scholars Committee has alleged rights violations by government forces. A news reporter was kidnapped in the Bekaa Valley.
Sirajuddine Zureiqat, a spokesman for the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, is said to be now involved in the hostage situation involving at least 21 Lebanese troops kidnapped by the Al Nusrah Front and the Islamic Front. Unnamed militants opened fire on three Army checkpoints in Tripoli, wounding a soldier.
The Army shelled terrorist positions in Arsal and killed a number of militants. The Al Nusrah Front claimed a suicide car bombing on a Hezbollah checkpoint in Khreibeh near the Syrian border that reportedly killed three people and destroyed a cannon. Al Nusrah released a video of its execution of a captive Lebanese soldier, and threatened to kill a captive Lebanese policeman. The Army arrested two suspected militants in Arsal. Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri said terrorists holding captive Lebanese security forces are seeking to incite Sunni-Shia strife.
Interior Minister Machnouk said Lebanon will combat terrorism without coordinating with the international coalition. The mayor of Arsal dismissed rumors that residents are providing fuel to terrorists. Relatives of the over 20 kidnapped Lebanese troops urged the Al Nusrah Front and the Islamic State to stop making death threats against their sons. Security forces are concerned about reports that the IS is financing terror cells in the Ain-al-Hilweh refugee camp, and that extremists based in the camp are planning to destabilize Sidon.
The Army killed "dozens" of Al Nusrah Front militants who were fleeing clashes with Syrian forces near the border in Qalamoun. Security forces arrested three Syrians accused of membership in an armed terrorist group in Baalbek. Army intelligence recently detained a Saudi commander of a 100-fighter Islamic State group after he arrived in Beirut from Turkey; security forces also arrested an IS field commander and his son in Tripoli. Tiring of negotiations with the government, Al Nusrah threatened to kill a captive Lebanese soldier, and released a kidnapped civilian in Arsal. The head of the Lebanese Forces party praised Lebanon's decision to join the US-led coalition against the Islamic State, but Hezbollah has denounced it.
Syrian jets shelled a 400-meter tunnel near the border town of Arsal. The Al Nusrah Front released a video showing two kidnapped Lebanese soldiers pleading for the release of Islamist inmates from Roumieh Prison. Al Nusrah also warned Lebanese politicians that Hezbollah must be pulled out of Syria "in order to preserve the safety of your children." An Army official said Qatar is mediating separately with Al Nusrah and the Islamic State over the fate of the kidnapped security forces. The Syrian government accused Qatar of supporting terrorism by paying large ransoms to terrorist kidnappers. A recent Western diplomatic report warns of the increasing threat the Islamic State poses to Lebanon.
Authorities conducted raids in Tripoli, and arrested three men wanted by Interpol, including Sami Mohammed Dib Bakir a.k.a. Minaa, a Syrian said to be a dangerous member of the Al Nusrah Front. State media also reported "moves by Nusrah-linked armed groups." Gunmen kidnapped a Lebanese man in Arsal reportedly because he was working with Hezbollah.
Militants from the Al Nusrah Front and the Islamic State raided three quarries in Arsal, smashing equipment and taking away several bulldozers into the hills. Tripoli Osama Mansour, 27, the head of a 20-member group of militants, expressed admiration for the Al Nusrah Front and the Islamic State but denied that his group had sworn allegiance to either of the two. Sheikh Mustafa al Hujeiri a.k.a. Abu Taqiyeh withdrew from negotiations for the release of kidnapped Lebanese soldiers, citing a threat of assassination by a known group. Security forces defused a bomb in Sidon. The US delivered more Hellfire missiles to Lebanon and promised to provide an armed Cessna aircraft.