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Lebanon News

Army arrests Iraqi terror suspect, eight soldiers wounded in Tripoli

  • A man stands outside a shop near a damaged car at the site of the attack that targeted the Army in Bab al-Tabbaneh, Tuesday, May 20, 2014. (The Daily Star/Stringer)

BEIRUT/TRIPOLI: The Lebanese Army arrested Tuesday a wanted Iraqi national on charges of terrorism in Beirut’s southern suburbs, a statement from the military said.

Imad Fawzi Ali Saedi was arrested in the Haret Hreik neighborhood while driving an unlicensed vehicle, according to the Army.

It added that he was wanted by the authorities for taking part in “terrorist” activities.

Saedi was promptly handed over to the judiciary, the Army said.

According to an Army source, Saedi is a “global terrorist,” and the military had already gathered significant information about his illicit activities.

Saedi confessed to having been involved in terrorist activity in Syria, including a number of explosions, the source added.

“There are fears that he might have been planning terrorist activities in Lebanon,” the source told The Daily Star.

Also Tuesday, eight Lebanese soldiers, including a lieutenant, were wounded when their vehicle came under attack in the northern city of Tripoli overnight, security sources and the military said.

The sources told The Daily Star that gunmen fired machine guns and a rocket-propelled grenade at an Army unit carrying out raids for wanted suspects in the Tripoli neighborhood of Bab al-Tabbaneh.

An Army statement said the soldiers were wounded when a military patrol came under machine gun and rocket fire in Bab al-Tabbaneh at 1:30 a.m. Tuesday.

The security sources identified the wounded officer as Lt. Hasan Awada Khaled al-Naaman.

The Army was carrying out a raid at the home of Khaled Jammal al-Rai in Jihad Street. Rai has several arrest warrants out against him and is accused of shooting at a number of Alawite residents of Tripoli over the last few months.

An Army tank caught on fire and was destroyed in the attack, which took place near Al-Nasiri Mosque on Syria Street, which separates Bab al-Tabbaneh from its traditional rival neighborhood of Jabal Mohsen.

The militia commander who led the attack against the Army was wounded in the ensuing exchange of fire, which led to material damage in the area.

The Army managed to arrest Rai’s maternal uncle.

According to the military source, the Army is carrying out raids against those involved in the attack.

“We will arrest them very soon,” he told The Daily Star. “We will not be lenient in this case.”

The source also said that he did not expect similar attacks to occur in the future.

The Army erected checkpoints in a number of neighborhoods and main streets in Tripoli as a result, and conducted patrols along with the Internal Security Forces and in cooperation with the municipal police, as the city witnessed relative calm Tuesday.

The incident struck a blow to the newly implemented security plan, which was put in place at the beginning of April to end the clashes between the neighborhoods of Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen that have persisted for three years in connection to the Syrian civil war.

While the security forces have arrested dozens of militiamen and their leaders, bringing an end to active fighting, Sunnis in Bab al-Tabbaneh have claimed that the authorities were biased in their actions against their community.

Separately Tuesday, the Army dismantled a hand grenade attached to a detonator placed near a gasoline cylinder in Rmeileh, a coastal village in the Chouf, security sources told The Daily Star.

The hand grenade was placed in the parking area of a residential building in the village, according to the sources.

The Army cordoned off the area, and military experts dismantled the small bomb.

An investigation into the incident is underway.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on May 21, 2014, on page 3.
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Summary

The Lebanese Army arrested Tuesday a wanted Iraqi national on charges of terrorism in Beirut's southern suburbs, a statement from the military said.

According to an Army source, Saedi is a "global terrorist," and the military had already gathered significant information about his illicit activities.

An Army statement said the soldiers were wounded when a military patrol came under machine gun and rocket fire in Bab al-Tabbaneh at 1:30 a.m. Tuesday.

The Army managed to arrest Rai's maternal uncle.

According to the military source, the Army is carrying out raids against those involved in the attack.

The Army cordoned off the area, and military experts dismantled the small bomb.


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