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. A statement issued by the Internal Security Forces described Husseini, 28, as “one of the most dangerous men wanted by the judiciary.”
The ISF said it confiscated an AK-47 from Husseini’s home in Brital, adding that during investigations Hussein confessed to having plotted and executed kidnap-for-ransom operations in Beirut, the Bekaa Valley and south Lebanon.
Police have launched a manhunt to arrest his accomplices. In April, Lebanese authorities implemented 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.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 07, 2014, on page 4.