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Nusra Front members plotting in Lebanon

File - A member of Islamist Syrian rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra mans a checkpoint on the border crossing between Syria and Jordan, which they claim to have taken control of, in Daraa December 26, 2013. (REUTERS/Ammar Khassawneh)

Security reports warn that a large number of Nusra Front fighters have infiltrated Lebanon in the last few days; most have been coming from Yabroud and Qalamoun in Syria.

The reports said these fighters would likely join certain extremist groups in Lebanon that are plotting several terrorist operations, backed by fundamentalist and Islamist scholars who live abroad.

These fighters have scattered to several refugee camps and regions across Lebanon, with some residing in secret apartments.

Palestinian sources told The Daily Star about their anxieties and expectations for dramatic incidents to take place in the refugee camp of Ain al-Hilweh in south Lebanon in the near future.

A senior security official in Fatah informed the security forces that these groups have steadily been building their military capabilities, the results of which might soon be seen in operations carried out by these groups, who are financed by regional parties.

Reports have also revealed that the head of Fatah al-Islam in Ain Al-Hilweh, identified as Mohammad A. D., known as Khordoq, has finalized preparations and drawn a map of key locations that could be targeted by fighters based in the camp. The information said Palestinian IDs would be forged for members of several fundamentalist groups for later use to execute terrorist operations in Lebanon and Syria.

The security forces have also been informed that there are stolen cars in Ain al-Hilweh, where they were rigged by an explosives expert called Kh. Agha, an Algerian residing in Lebanon for the past seven years, who works for one of the fundamentalist groups in the camp.

The sources noted that the government-backed security plan that was implemented in north Lebanon and Tripoli had prompted several groups to take refuge in the camp, where they are planning out how to attack Hezbollah targets in response to the group’s involvement in the Syrian war.

Well-informed sources said a group of fundamentalist fighters were taking refuge in Akkar and would soon go to Syria to support opposition fighters in their uprising against the regime, under the supervision of military trainers from the Free Syrian Army and Syrian officer Hussein Mahhour from Zabadani.

The training of these groups is part of a plan to boost the ranks of the FSA following its recent setbacks in Homs and Qalamoun.

A security report was provided to The Daily Star that contained the names of some of these fighters who will leave to train. They come from different regions and are identified as Mohammad S., Hussein A.S., Abdel-Rahman M., Tareq N., Ghassan M., Khaled Hisham A., and Mohammad Mustafa Kh.

The report confirmed that heavy and advanced arms were smuggled to Syria through secret crossings in the Bekaa Valley and Arsal under the supervision of Lebanese Ahmad M. A. with the cooperation of an officer in the FSA identified as Ibrahim Fares.

A few weeks ago, dozens of Lebanese fighters traveled to a regional capital where they held several meetings with regional intelligence officers, with the presence of Nusra Front officials and military officers from different nationalities, to discuss a plan to be launched from positions in north Lebanon aimed at Syria to ease the pressures being exerted by the regime forces on the opposition groups and to keep reinforcements open.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on April 03, 2014, on page 3.

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Summary

Security reports warn that a large number of Nusra Front fighters have infiltrated Lebanon in the last few days; most have been coming from Yabroud and Qalamoun in Syria.

The reports said these fighters would likely join certain extremist groups in Lebanon that are plotting several terrorist operations, backed by fundamentalist and Islamist scholars who live abroad.

Well-informed sources said a group of fundamentalist fighters were taking refuge in Akkar and would soon go to Syria to support opposition fighters in their uprising against the regime, under the supervision of military trainers from the Free Syrian Army and Syrian officer Hussein Mahhour from Zabadani.


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