Results tagged “Lebanon”
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A Kuwaiti news outlet claimed that Hezbollah had detained three Al Nusrah Front commanders in Qalamoun who could be exchanged for kidnapped Lebanese security forces; Hezbollah denied knowledge of the report. Another report said Al Nusrah plans to release kidnapped Sunni, Christian, and Druze troops but will hang on to captive Shiites. Al Nusrah released four or five troops on Aug. 30 who were not previously listed as kidnapped. The names of prisoners whom Al Nusrah or the Islamic State allegedly want released have not been published. The body of a kidnapped soldier who was beheaded by the Islamic State was turned over to authorities by the Muslim Scholars Committee. An estimated 3,000 Islamic State fighters are said to be based in Lebanon.
The Islamic State posted video of a captive Lebanese soldier pleading for the release of Islamist inmates from Roumieh Prison. The Al Nusrah Front threatened to kill captive Lebanese soldiers if Hezbollah does not withdraw from fighting in Qalamoun in Syria. A Hezbollah official warned that the Islamic State intends to take over Lebanon as well as Iraq and Syria. Fugitive cleric Sirajeddine Zureiqat, speaking for the Abdulllah Azzam Brigades, warned that the battle has not yet started in Lebanon and blamed Hezbollah. The government is said to be thinking of freeing certain Roumieh prison inmates to effect the release of Lebanese troops held captive by Islamist groups. After Islamic State flags were burned, crosses were torched, and churches defaced with Islamic State graffiti in Tripoli, a Christian lawmaker warned citizens against becoming engulfed in "sectarian provocation"; Justice Minister Rifi called for an investigation.
The Lebanese branch of the Al Nusrah Front said it has handed over five kidnapped Lebanese troops who belong to the Sunni sect, as the group's fight "is not against the Sunnis." Authorities arrested six Syrians and eight Lebanese in Zahle who are suspected of forging documents for terrorist groups, and confiscated official seals for 150 Lebanese offices as well as for officials and airport officers in Libya, UAE, Morocco, Jordan, Syria, and Palestine. Kidnappers who abducted a Kuwaiti man from a Baalbek hotel are asking $1 million for his release. Syrian aircraft bombed militant targets along Lebanon's western border area. Justice Minister Rifi said three boys who burned the Islamic State flag should be prosecuted.
Hundreds of US-donated anti-tank guided missiles, rifles, mortars, and other weapons have been delivered to Lebanon after it requested the equipment to help fight terrorists in the country, and more heavy weaponry is expected to arrive in the coming weeks. Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai called for the creation of a UN military force to stop "the invasion by terrorist organizations" that are both harming Islam and threatening Christians. In a recent flareup around Arsal, the Army arrested two militants and shot and killed a third. The Islamic State reportedly threatened to execute nine captive Lebanese security forces if its demands for the release of Islamist inmates from Roumieh Prison are not met.
Arrest warrants were issued for Islamic State commander Imad Jomaa, who was detained in Arsal on Aug. 2, and Ahmad Jomaa, another militant; authorities are continuing to interrogate 18 other suspects who were arrested during the Arsal clashes. Imad Jomaa is charged with crimes including attempting to set up an Islamic emirate in Arsal. Military forces clashed with 13 armed terrorists in a minibus attempting to infiltrate from Syria in the Bekaa Valley, and dismantled a six-man terrorist cell that included wanted militant Mohammed Barakat. An alleged IS militant posted photos on Twitter that show him beheading a captive Lebanese soldier and threatening that more soldiers will be beheaded if Hezbollah continues to try to disrupt negotiations between the militants and the government.
Security forces intercepted a vehicle loaded with RPGs in Hermel and detained the driver and a passenger; and arrested 32 Syrians in refugee camps in north and east Lebanon who did not have proper identification. Syrian airstrikes targeted border areas near Al-Rawhe outside Arsal. The Arab Tawhid Party announced it was closing its offices in Syria after a number of its men who were battling alongside Druze fighters were killed in clashes in Sweida province with the Al Nusrah Front and local Bedouins. Christian Patriarchs of the Orient issued a statement deploring the silence of the Muslim world and the international community on the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, and called for action to stop the Islamic State and restore harmony.
The Muslim Scholars Committee asked the government to appoint a "neutral" mediator in negotiations for the release of kidnapped Lebanese security forces being held by Islamist militants; MSC chief Sheikh Malek Jadida said the abductors had "humanitarian" demands and that they also called for the withdrawal of Hezbollah from Syria. Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia are said to be involved in the negotations. A security source claimed that the hostages and the militants are still in Arsal. The Army found launch pads in the al-Jarmak valley used for sending rockets into Israel.
Imad Jomaa, an Islamist commander captured on Aug. 2 in Arsal, reportedly confessed that he had been tasked with coordinating the takeover of Arsal and other Lebanese towns in the Bekaa Valley and the north so that an Islamic emirate could be established in the area with Abdullah Azzam Brigades spokesman Sirajeddine Zureiqat as its emir. The battle, which allegedly also involved Abou Malek al-Souri, emir of the Al Nusrah Front in Qalamoun with 29 armed groups under his command, started three days earlier than planned, when Jomaa was captured. The plot also aimed to capture male and female Hezbollah sympathizers and as many Lebanese troops as possible, and to spark instability. An Al Nusrah commander said the group may "resort to the military option" to free detained jihadists from Roumieh Prison. Six Syrians were detained for writing "ISIS" on a rock, and three others were arrested for links to the Al Nusrah Front.
The Muslim Scholars Committee delivered video to the government that shows nine kidnapped Lebanese troops being held captive by Islamists. The Al Nusrah Front and the Islamic Front also released lists of names of those held captive. Security forces arrested three Syrians in the Bekaa Valley for posting the logo of an extremist group in various places and seeking to recruit for the group. Rabih Nehmeh, an al Qaeda member who was linked to the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005, was released from Roumieh Prison.
The Muslim Scholars Committee suspended its mediation efforts for the release of 29 Lebanese security forces kidnapped by the Al Nusrah Front and the Islamic State, citing the new role of an unnamed foreign actor in the negotiations. Abu Talal, a Syrian from Qusair who has represented the Islamic State in the negotiations, has taken over the command of the Fajr al-Islam Brigade, which was led by IS commander Imad Jomaa led before his capture by Lebanese forces in early August. Fajr al-Islam is said to be holding 11 Lebanese soldiers captive.
Abou Taymour al Dandashi, a Salafist militia leader who was arrested for his role in Tripoli clashes, was released from Roumieh Prison; judicial sources claimed he was not a militia leader. Government officials are refusing to divulge details of the negotiations for the release of security forces held captive by Islamist militants, but some say the captors are demanding the release of inmates from Roumieh Prison. The Muslim Scholars Committee has hinted it may withdraw from the negotiations.
Muslim Scholars Committee (MSC) negotiators reported that the Al Nusrah Front and the Islamic State have said they will release the remaining 29 kidnapped Lebanese security forces if Hezbollah withdraws all of its fighters from Syria. Another report claimed that the Qataris have become involved in the negotiations, and that Al Nusrah and the Islamic State have made different demands; it alleged that an MSC negotiator is related to the Islamic State's emir for Qalamoun, and that Al Nusrah is seeking the release of Abdullah Azzam Brigades captives.
The interrogation of Islamist commander Imad Jomaa was postponed after his lawyer submitted documents alleging that his confession and those of 42 other suspects arrested during recent clashes in Arsal were coerced. Sheikh Amama of the Muslim Scholars Committee said he decided to collaborate with Sister Agnes-Mariam of the Cross after she arranged the repatriation of over 2,000 Syrian refugees in Arsal. Military officials said intelligence work had led to the arrest of a large number of Islamic State militants across the country.