Lebanon arrests five in Baalbek for alleged terror plot
Military Intelligence arrested Sunday five people in Baalbek suspected of planning a "major terrorist plot" and referred them to the judiciary, according to the National News Agency.
“Army intelligence agents apprehended a group of five people who were plotting a terrorist act,” the state-run NNA said.
Among those arrested was Omar al-Satem, the brother of Qutaiba al-Satem, who blew himself up in Haret Hreik in January 2014, according to the NNA.
A security source told The Daily Star that four Syrian nationals and one Lebanese from Arsal riding a minibus were arrested at a checkpoint in Harbata, as they were reportedly heading to Arsal hills to provide Syrian opposition forces with aid.
The arrests came two days after the Internal Security Forces' Information Branch and the General Security performed a raid on two hotels in Beirut's Hamra district.
The raid resulted in the apprehension of 17 people, 13 of whom were released Saturday for lack of evidence, while the remaining four were kept for further interrogation.
Lebanese authorities had received a tip-off that a group of Islamists were planning an assassination plot against Speaker Nabih Berri during a conference at UNESCO he was scheduled to speak at Friday morning. Western intelligence informed security agencies in Lebanon of an imminent terrorist attack against a gathering, prompting the speaker to cancel the event, Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk has said.
Hours later, a suicide car bomb hit a police checkpoint in east Lebanon, killing a 49-year-old ISF officer and wounding 32 other people. Authorities say the target of the attack was a location in Beirut.
The shadowy group Free Sunnis of Baalbek Brigade claimed responsibility for the bombing, saying they could not “reach their target today but they will do so later.”