( dpa ) - Lebanese authorities on Thursday arrested a high- ranking member of a fundamentalist Islamist group that fought a 15- week battle against the Lebanese army in the northern city of Tripoli last year, a military official said.
"Security forces raided a home in the Abi Samra neighbourhood and arrested Nabil Rahim, a high-ranking member of Fatah al-Islam in Tripoli," the official said.
He said Rahim's wife was also arrested in the dawn raid. The Abi Samra district of Tripoli is known as a hotbed of Sunni extremists.
The arrests come a few days after the fugitive leader of Fatah al- Islam, Shakr al-Abssi, threatened in a recorded message to attack the Lebanese army.
The al-Qaeda-inspired militant said "our message to the crusaders is to expect the worst. This battle was only the beginning and we will prevail."
Almost 400 people were killed, including an estimated 222 Fatah al-Islam militants and 168 soldiers, in the fighting at the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared near Tripoli which ended in September after a final assault by the army.
Al-Abssi has reportedly managed to escape shortly before the battles in the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian camp ended on September 2nd. regrouping in and even expanding outside the tribal areas, and are pushing for a return to civilian leadership via free elections to restore credibility to the government. It was not the first time that a suicide bomber so brazenly targeted police in a major Pakistani city.
Days after a commando operation against Islamic militants holed up inside Islamabad's Red Mosque in July 2007, a bomber walked up to a group of policemen eating lunch at a small roadside restaurant and blew himself up, killing eight of them as well as seven civilians.
The country's Jihadi (holy warriors) organizations had warned the government that it would face a series of suicide attacks across the country if it stormed the Red Mosque. More than five hundred people, more than half of them the security personnel, have died in the terrorist actions since then.