BEIRUT: Lebanon charged Monday 14 individuals – including a Turk, an Iraqi and a Syrian – with rigging bombs in vehicles, including one that blew up killing a terrorism suspect in east Lebanon and another recently dismantled in Beirut’s southern suburbs.
Military Prosecutor Saqr Saqr charged all 14 cell members with "carrying out terrorist acts and booby-trapping cars with the aim of detonating them in specific parts of Lebanon."
Only two of the twelve – Lebanese suspect Mohammad Nayef Atrash and Mohammad Misbaheddine Ozamir, a Turkish national – are currently in custody.
A judicial source told The Daily Star that one of the explosive-laden vehicles detonated last week in a narrow valley separating the mountainous area of Arsal and the Syrian border. Terrorist suspect Omar Atrash and a local resident identified as Samer Hujeiri were killed in the blast.
The deceased Atrash, who hailed from the Bekaa Valley town of Arsal, was allegedly involved in planting explosives in Hezbollah strongholds and killing several soldiers on Arsal’s outskirts.
Local media has also reported that he was involved in two car bomb attacks that rocked Bir al-Abed and Ruwaiss in the southern suburbs of Beirut in July and August, respectively.
He is also suspected of planning two rocket attacks in May that wounded four people in the Beirut southern suburb of Shiyah.
The Lebanese Army also dismantled a rigged vehicle in the Beirut southern suburb of Maamoura earlier this month.
The judicial source said the suspects could face the death penalty if convicted. Of the suspects, eight Lebanese, a Syrian and an Iraqi national remain at large.
The Lebanese and Turkish suspects have been referred to Military Investigative Judge Riad Abu Ghayda.