Lebanese army raids hideout for 'dangerous' Daesh, kills one

Published April 23rd, 2017 - 11:00 GMT
Lebanese soldiers at a checkpoint in Arsal. (AFP/file)
Lebanese soldiers at a checkpoint in Arsal. (AFP/file)

The Lebanese Army Saturday killed a Daesh (ISIS) emir and arrested 10 suspected militants during a stealth operation in the northeastern border town of Arsal, a source told The Daily Star.

The Lebanese Army confirmed the operation in a statement, saying that Hasan al-Mallees was killed in the operation. It said that the alleged Syrian Qalamoun Daesh emir had taken part in the 2014 clashes with the Lebanese Army in Arsal.

The army identified the ten “dangerous terrorists" as Syrians Fawzi al-Sahli, Alaaeddine Al-Halabi, Ahmad Miman, Abdullah Hesian and Mohammad al-Sahli. Several Lebanese were also identified, including Wael al-Fleiti, Hussein al-Fleiti, Amin Hmayyed, and Mahmoud al-Fleiti.

The Hezbollah-affiliated War Media Center identified the Daesh emir as a Syrian fugitive from the Al-Halabi family who went by the nom de guerre "al-Mallees."

It said he was from the Syrian town of Qara in a rural Damascus province near the Lebanese border.

"He is one of the terrorists who issued a fatwa to execute Lebanese servicemen," it added.

Nine soldiers have been held captive since militants belonging to Daesh and Jabhat Fatah al-Sham – formerly the Al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front – briefly overran the northeast border town of Arsal in August 2014.

More than 30 soldiers and policemen were initially captured but most were released. Some were killed in captivity, however, and nine army personnel are still being held by Daesh.

The media center said that the army raid targeted the house of a "suspected terrorist" identified as Wael Deeb Fleiti in Arsal's Wadi al-Hosn neighborhood, adding that an army intelligence unit also took part in the raid.

It said that Fleiti, "one of the most dangerous terrorists," was arrested with his brother Hussein, along with a number of Syrian and Lebanese fugitives.

They are wanted for arms smuggling and supporting extremist groups.

The Syrians had allegedly entered the country through the Lebanese-Syrian border to the northeast and were apprehended in a “swift and sudden raid” in the northeast border town.

No casualties from the raid were reported on the army side, the military's statement added.

Army Commander General Joseph Aoun said that the "qualitative operation" conducted by the army in Arsal "proves once again that terrorists will have no safe haven in Lebanon and that the army is capable of detecting any terror activity and will swiftly avert it."

The Lebanese Army and security forces have been cracking down on sleeper cells as part of a comprehensive security plan.

The eastern border region with Syria often witnesses skirmishes between militants holed up in the rugged mountainous area and Lebanese Army units positioned on the border.

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