BEIRUT: A gunman with ties to Al-Qaeda was arrested Thursday in Beirut after an hours-long standoff with Lebanese soldiers that also claimed the lives of two men, security sources said Thursday.
The apprehended gunman, Hani Ash-Shanti who holds a Lebanese passport, is part of a 13-member group affiliated with Al-Qaeda and is said to have been linked to the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, the sources said.
The early morning standoff was sparked after two gunmen at an apartment in Caracas began firing at members of the police who had been dispatched to the area following the sound of gunfire.
In response, the Lebanese Army, backed by Armored Personnel Carriers, was called in and the military cordoned off the area.
Taking up positions around the building, the army ordered the gunmen to surrender themselves.
After refusing to heed the army’s calls, the gunmen began shooting and hurling hand grenades at soldiers.
At 6:15 a.m., an army team stormed the apartment and traded fire with the gunmen, killing one of the men and wounding the other.
Four Lebanese soldiers, including an officer, were also wounded in the exchange of fire.
Upon inspecting the apartment, the army also discovered the body of a dead man, who security sources said had been killed during a dispute at the apartment over a Syrian woman, Gharam al-Hussein.