HERMEL: A wanted terror suspect, apprehended by the Lebanese Army Thursday, died of wounds he sustained during a shootout with soldiers in the course of his arrest, security sources said.
The man, identified as Sami Ahmad Atrash, was accused of preparing car bombs and cooperating with armed groups fighting in Syria.
He was also allegedly behind several rocket attacks on towns and villages of the northern Bekaa Valley.
Radical Islamist groups, primarily Nusra Front, have claimed responsibility for rocket attacks against the predominantly Shiite towns, citing Hezbollah’s military role in Syria.
Atrash, who had several arrest warrants out against him, was also allegedly involved in last year's deadly ambush of several Shiite men and a Turkish citizen, an incident that sparked sectarian tensions in the Bekaa, the sources said.
“He is one of the most wanted people on our list,” one of the sources said.
An Army intelligence unit chased Atrash, known by the nom de guerre “Al-Daroukh,” down an Arsal road, leading to an exchange of fire that wounded the suspect, the sources said.
He was in critical condition when he was transferred to the Al-Amal al-Jamiei Hospital where he died of his wounds.
The Army confirmed the arrest in a statement, saying Atrash fired shots at the military unit, prompting soldiers to fire back.
Atrash, described by the military as a "dangerous terrorist," was wounded in the shootout and died later of his wounds.
"The dead terrorist was wanted for preparing explosives-rigged vehicles, firing rockets and mortars into Lebanese towns and villages, abducting citizens, taking part in the killing of four civilians in Arsal and the killing of soldiers in Wadi Hmayyed as well as planning to assassinate an army officer with a bomb," the Army said in a statement.
Separately, the Army also detained five wanted individuals, including three Lebanese brothers and two Syrians in Arsal, security sources said.
The Lebanese were identified as Ali, Mohammad and Nasser Ezzedine.
The five have several judicial warrants out against them.