BAALBEK, Lebanon: The leader of a major kidnapping ring in the northern Bekaa Valley was arrested Sunday morning, security sources told The Daily Star.
Qassem Husseini, who hails from the Baalbek village of Shmustar but is based in the village of Brital, oversaw a network of at least 50 members that was responsible of carrying out major kidnap-for-ransom operations in the Bekaa Valley in recent years, the sources said.
Zein al-Abidine al-Husseini, Qassem Husseini's brother and close aide, was also arrested.
Lebanon has seen a spate of kidnap-for-ransom operations in recent years, particularly in the northern Bekaa Valley.
In April, Lebanese authorities kicked off a security plan in the Bekaa Valley, raiding locations in the Baalbek neighborhood of Hay al-Sharawneh and the village of Brital, both notorious for being off-limits to authorities, in search of wanted individuals, including abduction gangs and drug dealers.