BEIRUT: A Lebanese judge Monday requested the death penalty for 23 suspects including two Abdullah Azzam Brigades members.
Military Investigative Judge Fadi Sawwan recommended the sentence for Palestinian national Naim Abbas, Lebanese nationals Jamal Daftardar and Joumana Hmeid, and the Azzam Brigades’ religious guide Sirajeddine Zorayqat, who is a fugitive along with 14 others named in the decision.
Zorayqat is the spokesperson of the group, which has claimed responsibility for a number of car bombings in Lebanon, including two suicide attacks against Iranian interests.
The suspects are accused of belonging to an armed terrorist group with the aim of detonating explosive-rigged vehicles, as well as preparing explosive belts for suicide attacks in an attempt to kill civilians.
The charges against the group include forging documents and official identification cards.
Abbas, arrested Feb. 12, was charged in connection to two bombings in the Beirut suburb of Haret Hreik earlier this year that were also linked to Daftardar. The latter is a commander in the Al-Qaeda-linked Azzam Brigades and was accused of having a role in the two bombings, as well as the recent foiled plot to assassinate General Security official Lt. Col. Khattar Nassereddine.
Abbas is also linked to the Nusra Front in Lebanon, the offshoot of the radical group fighting in Syria.
Hmeid was apprehended earlier this year when she was driving a vehicle, packed with explosives, from the Bekaa Valley town of Labweh to the northeastern town of Arsal.
A judicial source told The Daily Star that the group were accused of having a role in several attacks - the suicide bombing in Shoueifat, Hmeid's explosive-rigged vehicle, the discovery of an explosive-laden vehicle in Beirut's Corniche al-Mazraa, firing rockets into Beirut's southern suburbs and an attempt to launch rockets into the same area from Aramoun.
The detainees confessed to being involved in the attacks, which primarily targeted the capital's southern suburbs, in retaliation for Hezbollah fighting in Syria alongside regime troops.