BEIRUT: A would-suicide bomber was arrested Wednesday during an Army raid in Beirut that also saw the arrest of a man suspected of being a member of an Al-Qaeda-linked group, security sources said.
The sources identified the would-be suicide bomber as Mohammad Mahmoud, adding that he was apprehended in the Afif al-Tibeh neighborhood in Beirut.
Mahmoud was apprehended during an Army raid that also led to the arrest of Palestinian Naim Abbas, who the Army said was a wanted member of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades.
According to the military, questioning of Abbas led soldiers to a nearby car park in Corniche Mazraa where the Army dismantled a bomb-laden vehicle.
Mahmoud, according to the sources, had been the designated driver of the vehicle.
Abbas’ interrogation also led authorities to a warehouse in Saadiyyat, where rockets, bombs and fake identification documents were seized, the sources said.
Another raid in the nearby Dibbiyeh led to the discovery of rockets and launchers aimed at the southern suburbs of Beirut, they added.
Army Intelligence also briefly detained a member of the gendarmerie tasked with security at the Central House, the residence of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, on suspicion he was an accomplice to Abbas, the source said.
The sources said the questioning of the gendarme, identified by his initials H.A., was prompted by an analysis of Abbas’ phone activity over the period of one week.
The records showed Abbas had contacted the Internal Security Forces member and inquired about the purchase of a vehicle, the sources said.
Abbas had provided a fake name while trying to negotiate the purchase of the vehicle, the sources said, adding that H.A. was released after authorities confirmed he had no link “to any terrorist activity.”