Lebanese Army claims they foiled an attack targeting eastern Beirut
Lebanese army troops deploy in Wadi Khaled on Lebanon's northern border with Syria in May 2011. (AFP/File)
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The Lebanese Amy’s intelligence branch foiled a huge attack aimed at one of Beirut’s eastern suburbs last week, local daily Al-Joumhouria reported Wednesday, as fresh information surfaced over the multiple attacks which struck the country’s northeastern village two days ago.
The Lebanese daily said that military sources revealed that the army’s intelligence was able to thwart a “double terrorist attack” targeting an important tourist site in one of the capital’s eastern areas set to take place late last week. The two culprits behind the attack were arrested, the source added.
These revelations come in the wake of a series of attacks which struck the country’s northeastern border village of Al-Qaa Monday, killing five people and wounding 30 others. The daily’s military sources said investigations into the attacks seen as the latest spillover of neighboring Syria’s civil war, have gone a long way.
“There are confessions from suspects, leads and very important information in the hands of the army’s intelligence,” the source was quoted as saying.
The Lebanese newspaper Annahar said military sources disclosed that the army has so far identified seven of the eight suicide attackers, adding that they were newly recruited and belonged to a 17-member militant cell.
Security sources had told The Daily Star that three of the terrorists were identified as Syrian nationals after their severed heads were compared with images of Syrians who entered Lebanon legally and had their photographs taken at the border.
Security chiefs warned Tuesday that Lebanon should brace for more waves of attacks after deadly bombings in Al-Qaa. “We should not rule out that this terrorist crime is a harbinger of a wave of terrorist operations,” read a statement released following the meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Tammam Salam.
Meanwhile, the Army continued to cordon off areas in Al-Qaa and surrounding areas Wednesday, preventing residents from entering, Voice of Lebanon radio (100.5) reported. It also continued to raid Syrian refugee camps in the northeastern region, one day after it arrested over 200 unregistered Syrian nationals. Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk said, however, that the suicide attackers did not come from the refugee camps, but from inside Syria.
The funeral for those who died in Al-Qaa bombings will be held Wednesday afternoon, after it was postponed a day earlier for security reasons.