Christian university in Lebanon takes precautions against threat

Other News Materials 9 April 2008 05:10 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa )- The Christian-funded Balamand University in north Lebanon Tuesday took steps to increase its security after reports of a threat by a terrorist group.

A security source said a number of copies of a statement signed by Fatah al-Islam - a terrorist group linked to al-Qaeda - were found by students on the campus of Balamand University.

The security source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the statement "threatened to bomb the university."

A university official who requested anonymity said: "We cannot ignore such a threat ... We are taking the necessary precautionary measures."

There was no confirmation from the group, Fatah al-Islam, that it had produced the leaflet.

Last year, Fatah al-Islam fought a bloody three-month gunbattle with the Lebanese army at the northern Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared which ended with many of the group killed and the others, including the leader, on the run.

Fatah al-Islam emerged in November 2006 when it split from Fatah al-Intifada (Fatah Uprising), a Syrian-backed Palestinian group based in Lebanon, which itself was a splinter of Yasser Arafat's mainstream organization Fatah.

Lebanese security officers dispute that it was a real split and allege that Fatah al-Islam is a part of Syrian intelligence security forces, and also has links with the al-Qaeda terrorist network, led by Osama bin Laden. Syria has denied any links with Fatah al-Islam.