SIDON, Lebanon: The Lebanese Army arrested five suspects in a massive manhunt Thursday for fugitives wanted in connection with twin suicide attacks on a military checkpoint.
In a statement, the military said it arrested the five during the manhunt launched earlier in the day in the eastern sector of the coastal city of Sidon.
The search was aimed at apprehending gunmen and fugitives, the Army said, adding that it was also looking for arms depots.
Troops raided houses belonging to fugitive Salafi-labeled preacher Ahmad Assir in Abra, arresting two suspects – a preacher identified as Sheikh Alaa Saleh and Nour al-Sabbagh, security sources told The Daily Star.
The sources said two Lebanese men were apprehended in the search which began early Thursday in an area stretching from the valleys around Bqosta, Sharhabeel and the old town of Abra, east of Sidon, all the way to Kfar Falous in the Jezzine district of south Lebanon.
Troops, backed by a reconnaissance plane, searched caves, tossing percussion grenades into them ahead of the raids, the sources said. Two men – both Lebanese identified by their family names Orr and Souri – were apprehended.
They said soldiers also raided the house of another pro-Assir preacher, Sheikh Osman Hneini, but he was not found.
The raids included Syrian refugee shelters, the sources added. No Syrians were arrested.
The hunt came following twin suicide attacks Sunday night on the Lebanese Army east and north of Sidon.
Two soldiers were wounded in the first Sunday evening attack on the Awali bridge, at the northern entrance to Sidon. Less than an hour later, a sergeant was killed and another soldier wounded in the second attack in Majdalyoun, east of Sidon.