Assassin cell arrested in north Lebanon

Photo: Assassin cell arrested in north Lebanon
 / Arabic region

The Lebanese Army said Wednesday that it arrested five members of a terrorist cell planning to assassinate a senior security officer in north Lebanon, The Daily Star reported.

A military statement said Lebanese Army Intelligence arrested the "terrorist cell" in Qalamoun, 5 kilometers south of the northern city of Tripoli.

The Army, however, did not say when the cell, which was referred Wednesday to the judiciary, was arrested.

The statement identified the detainees as Wassim Ahmad al-Qass, Wissam Ahmad al-Qass, Danny Ahmad al-Qass, Amjad Nouhad al-Khatib and Nabil Kamel Baida.

A security source told The Daily Star that Baida, 40, who hails from Qalamoun, is wanted by Lebanese authorities on multiple arrest warrants.

The Army said the military was still pursuing the remaining cell members.

The arrest came hours after Lebanese authorities said they have arrested six members of a criminal cell, including a university professor and two students, in Tripoli.

Security sources told The Daily Star that the cell, whose members have warrants out for their arrest, had been under surveillance.

They said the Lebanese Army's Counterterrorism Bureau made the arrests after raiding an apartment in the Tripoli neighborhood of Zahrieh late Tuesday.

The suspects include Wiam Mustafa, a 28-year-old professor at Lebanese French University (ULF) in the northern province of Koura, as well as Bilal al-Mustafa, an 18-year-old vocational student, and Abdul-Rahman al-Sayyed, a 23-year-old civil engineering student.

Separately, Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Mar Beshara Rai made several phone calls to the commanders of General Security, Internal Security Forces and State Security, offering condolences for the martyrs who have fallen in the recent terrorist acts before discussing the security situation overwhelming the country.

Defense Minister Samir Moqbel echoed similar remarks as other ministers earlier this week, saying the security situation remained under control.

"As a defense minister, I can say that the situation is under control and there is no need for concern or fears," Moqbel said after holding talks with Speaker Nabih Berri in Ain al-Tineh.

He said the two discussed the security in the country, primarily the need to strengthen the military and security forces to better address spillover from regional turmoil.

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Tags: Lebanon