BEIRUT: Lebanese security forces have busted a number of terrorist cells in the past few days and arrested some of its members on suspicions of plotting terror acts, State Prosecutor Judge Samir Hammoud said Sunday.
In line with its sustained campaign against terror groups, the Army has discovered a cave in north Lebanon used by militants to make explosives.
“A number of [terrorist] cells have been discovered and some of its members have been apprehended on suspicions of involvement in security incidents,” Hammoud told The Daily Star. He refused to give details on the number of these cells and those arrested and whether these cells were inter-related.
Hammoud also declined to give details on the ongoing investigation with a French man arrested during a police raid at the Napoleon Hotel in Hamra earlier this month in connection of an alleged terror plot and a partner of the Saudi suicide bomber who detonated his explosives belt at the Duroy Hotel in Raouche last Wednesday, killing himself to evade arrest during a preemptive raid by General Security personnel.
“The investigation is ongoing. It is a security investigation whose details cannot be disclosed now,” he said.
A security source told Al-Mustaqbal newspaper in comments published Sunday that Lebanese security authorities have so far seized three dangerous terrorist cells,
The source said Army Intelligence, General Security and the Internal Security Force’s intelligence arm, the Information Branch, have each apprehended a terrorist cell. The source added that none of the three cells had links to the recent suicide bombings in the Bekaa Valley and Tayyouneh.
On Saturday, the Lebanese Army discovered a cave in the north Lebanon village of Fnaydeq used by militants to make explosives and confiscated books that included instructions on how to make bombs.
The security source told Al-Mustaqbal that one of the men arrested, a so-called “Obeida al-Assli,” was one of the main operatives managing suicide-bombing cells.
The Army said that interrogation with Alaa Kanaan and Mahmoud Khaled, two detained terror suspects, led investigators to the cave in the outskirts of Fnaydeq.
Khaled confessed to the presence of a hideout, which he said people used to make bombs for terrorist attacks.
The Army raided the location and discovered a number of bombs, weapons, CDs, phone cards and cell phones, as well as documents and books that included lessons on bomb making.
Earlier this week, Khaled confessed to stashing several rocket-propelled grenades and ammunition underground in his property in Fnaydeq. The Amy then raided the location and confiscated "explosive material, RPGs, in addition to large quantity of metal balls used to make explosive belts."
A raid on Kanaan’s house resulted in the seizure of 42 dynamite sticks, 34 mortar bombs, 14 mortar propellant charges and 36 hand-grenade detonators.
Three suicide bombings have rattled Lebanon in the past week, raising fears of a return to the series of car bombings that mainly targeted the capital’s southern suburbs. The deadly attacks, that began in July last year and lasted for several months, were linked to the crisis in Syria.
A security source had told The Daily Star Friday that military and security forces were on high alert, searching for suicide bombers and two explosives-laden vehicles.