HERMEL, Lebanon: Three rocket hit the northeast Lebanon villages of Nabi Othman and Labweh Friday but left no casualties, security sources said, in the second rocket attack targeting Bekaa Valley villages associated with Hezbollah this week.
The attack was claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria. Rockets also targeting Labweh Wednesday killed a Syrian national and wounded a resident of the village.
Previous attacks on Bekaa Valley villages where Hezbollah enjoys wide support have been claimed by groups with links to the Syrian armed opposition, including the Nusra Front in Lebanon, which has cited Hezbollah’s military role in Syria as a motive for its actions.
Also Friday, Ibrahim Shiha was brieflykidnapped by unidentified assailants in the Zahle town of Riyaq, the sources said.
Residents blocked the Riyaq-Baalbek road with burning tires to protest Shiha’s abduction and called for his release. Some erected tents and closed off the Tal Amara road. Shiha was released later Friday.
The National News Agency said the abductors were in a black Cherokee and a silver Mercedes when they snatched Shiha, the owner of Al-Amin Restaurant in east Lebanon.
Meanwhile, Military Prosecutor Saqr Saqr Friday charged eight Lebanese men, six of them at large, with belonging to the Nusra Front and attempting to carry out terrorist attacks, opening fire on Lebanese soldiers and arms possession.
Judicial sources told The Daily Star the two men who were detained were part of an eight-member armed ring that opened fire on Lebanese troops during this week’s crackdown to restore Tripoli’s stability.
They said the other six men managed to flee after exchanging fire with soldiers during a military raid in the northern city earlier this week.
Tripoli has been plagued with 20 rounds of fighting between Alawite supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad in the Jabal Mohsen neighborhood and rivals in the Sunni majority Bab al-Tabbaneh district, which backs the Syrian opposition. A security plan to ensure stability in the embattled area kicked off Tuesday.
The Army also announced its arrest of 125 men during house raids in Jabal Mohsen and Bab al-Tabbaneh, part of the security plan.
In the northeast border town of Arsal, police seized two stolen vehicles, according to a statement from the Internal Security Forces.
The two vehicles, a gray Mercedes and a Porsche Cayenne with a fake license plate, were confiscated Wednesday from the Arsal areas of Wadi Hmayyed and Al-Msaydeh.
An investigation into the issue is underway, the police said.
Stolen cars have been used in several suicide bombings in Lebanon over the past months that targeted areas associated with Hezbollah.
The ISF also arrested five Lebanese men and a Syrian for possessing cocaine, Captagon and Lexotanil pills in the eastern town of Dahr al-Baidar, according to a statement released Friday. They were transferred to the Anti-Drug Office in the Bekaa Valley for further investigation.
Another ISF statement said that earlier this week it arrested a Lebanese identified as A.W., 34, in Beirut’s southern suburbs for thievery after he impersonated a political party figure.
The man confessed to the crime, saying he stole money from people by telling them he belonged to a political party in the area and asking for their papers before robbing them.
The ISF’s general directorate has asked citizens who have fallen victim to these robberies to report to the southern suburbs’ judicial police headquarters in Ouzai or call 01-842-403 or 01-842-405.
Separately, the ISF said it had killed “one of the most dangerous wanted men” for drug trafficking Thursday. The man, identified as K. H., 33, was shot in a room he used to deal drugs in the Joura neighborhood of the Beirut southern suburb of Burj al-Barajneh.
He was wanted on 117 other warrants, including ones for dealing drugs, theft, owning a prostitution ring and shooting at ISF patrols.
A patrol belonging to the judicial police’s Narcotics Control Bureau raided the wanted man’s room and exchanged fire with him. He died soon after being transported to the hospital.