TRIPOLI, Lebanon: A man involved in the recent attack on a government minister in the city of Tripoli was back in custody Saturday, hours after gunmen raided the hospital where he was receiving treatment while under police guard, security sources said.The daring raid, which took place at around 5:30 p.m., saw masked gunmen storm the Islamic Charity Hospital in Tripoli to free Mohammad Youssef, who is wanted in the January attack on the convoy of Youth and Sports Minister Faisal Karami.
During the raid, the two police guards assigned to watch over Youssef were beaten up, the sources said, adding that the gunmen had harassed members of staff and visitors at the medical facility as they made their way to the suspect’s room on the third floor of the building.
Youssef had recently undergone surgery at the hospital’s intensive care ward before he was moved to another wing of the medical facility.
Firing gunshots into the air as they made their escape, the gunmen sped off with Youssef in two vehicles to an unidentified location.
Hours later, following a meeting that included security officials and Muslim religious figures in the city, Youssef was handed over to Lebanese Army Intelligence.
On Jan. 18, gunmen demanding the release of Islamist prisoners opened fire on Karami’s convoy in Tripoli, wounding 11 people.
Karami said the names of the culprits behind Saturday’s daring operation were known and blamed lax security for the incident.
“Unfortunately, this is the result of the lax security in the country, from the north to the south, and the lack of accountability of security and judicial apparatuses,” he said.