Supporters of an Islamic group carry flags and shout slogans during a protest against the Syrian regime, in the northern city of Tripoli, Lebanon, Friday, Feb. 10, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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A Lebanon-based Sunni militant with reported links to Al-Qaeda pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) in an audio recording released late Saturday, urging the radical Syrian rebel group to "reactivate its cells" in the country".Sheikh Omar Bakri, a Tripoli-based Islamist, said the audio recording was the first conclusive sign of Al-Qaeda's presence in Lebanon, adding that Ansari's words resembled statements by Osama bin Laden, the group's notorious former commander.Bakri said Al-Qaeda had its own system of identifying commanders, and that Ansari's name followed the group's usual conventions.Ansari's remarks came a day after the Nusra Front in Lebanon warned Sunnis to avoid areas where Hezbollah has a presence or enjoys support.The group has cited Hezbollah's presence in Syria alongside Assad as a reason for its attacks.Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri Saturday warned against attempts to drag Lebanese citizens into conflicts between Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda, saying such radical groups were linked to the Syrian regime.
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