Arsal's Sheikh Mustafa Hujeiri. (The Daily Star/Stringer)
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Sheikh Mustafa Hujeiri, a former negotiator in Lebanon's hostage crisis, was charged Tuesday with belonging to the Nusra Front.Hujeiri, a Salafist sheikh, rose to prominence when he became a key intermediary between the Committee of Muslim Scholars and the Islamist militants holding at least 21 Lebanese servicemen hostage in the outskirts of Arsal.The sheikh started visiting Arsal ten years ago, and he later on built a mosque that he named after himself.Known of late as the emir of Nusra in Arsal, Hujeiri is a divisive figure. "A lot of people believe that he drew Arsal into the troubles," said one Arsal resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Others, however, say he was instrumental in the release of several kidnapped soldiers. Hujeiri facilitated the release of seven hostages held by the Nusra Front.
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