BEIRUT: A Frenchman and two Saudi nationals – one of whom blew up himself to evade arrest during a recent raid on a hotel in Beirut – were recruited and trained in Turkey by a radical Jordanian to become suicide bombers.
A judicial source told The Daily Star that the Jordanian trainer had been sending the recruits to Lebanon after having undergone training in Istanbul.
The source said the trainer would supply the bombers-to-be with money before sending them to Lebanon with instructions on who they should meet upon arrival.
Once in Lebanon, individuals would take charge of the bombers, provide them with explosives and give them instructions for the different tasks, according to the source.
The source said the investigation had revealed a link between the would-be French bomber, originally from the Comoros Islands, who was arrested in a June 20 raid on the Napoleon Hotel in Hamra and the would-be suicide bomber detained at the Duroy Hotel in Raouche last week.
A partner of the Saudi bomber had detonated his explosives belt at the Duroy Hotel, killing himself to evade arrest during a pre-emptive raid by General Security officers.
The judicial source said the investigation has expanded following the weekend arrest of more suspects.
State Prosecutor Samir Hammoud told The Daily Star Sunday that a number of terrorist cells had been uncovered in north Lebanon and that some of their members, suspected of involvement in security-related incidents, had been arrested.
Security concerns mounted after General Security released the photo of Monzer al-Hasan, a suspected terrorist who had provided the two Saudi suicide bombers with explosive belts. Hasan, 24, hails from the northern province of Akkar.
Hasan, a brother of two suicide bombers who blew themselves up in Syria, has disappeared and is believed to have left Akkar to rebel-held Syrian territory after his photo was published in newspapers.
The source said Military Prosecutor Saqr Saqr will in the coming hours refer the Saudi detainee to Lebanese Army Intelligence for further investigation.
“They [radicals] are seeking to turn Lebanon into fertile ground for Daesh,” said the source in reference to militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria. “They want Lebanon to become a mini-Iraq.”