ISIS is preparing a large-scale attack on the Lebanese army in Tripoli, north Lebanon, according to claims on the Twitter account of a Nusra Front related figure.
“According to documented information, ISIS is preparing for a large operation in Tripoli on the first day of Ramadan, against the Lebanese army,” said the Twitter account of Aas al-Siraa fi al-Sham Sunday, an alleged Nusra Front official.
The tweets were reported by the local Lebanese newspaper As-Safir Monday.
Al-Sham said the attack would be led by Abu Qatada al-Iraqi, an ISIS commander that has been sent from the group’s stronghold of Raqqa to reactivate Lebanese sleeper cells. He added that Al-Iraqi was currently residing in the area of Bab al-Ramel in Tripoli.
Both ISIS and the Nusra Front have operated cells in the northern city of Tripoli, especially before the security plan was launched in the city last year. A large number of militants and commanders from the two extremist groups are currently in Lebanese prisons.
“The dangerous thing about the operation that ISIS is preparing is that it is being overseen by Lebanese [army] intelligence, and the one responsible for the file is Brig. Gen. Amer Al-Hasan, the head of north Lebanon’s intelligence branch,” Al-Sham said, despite the fact that Al-Hasan has been replaced by Col. Karam Mrad.
He claimed that Al-Hasan had infiltrated into ISIS’ ranks and recruited two of the group’s cells to work for army intelligence, but that they had now become a “financial burden” on him.
The purpose behind the operation, he said, was to achieve rapprochement between the army and Hezbollah after the Shiite group failed to mobilize the army for a full-fledged battle in Arsal's outskirts.
“This is an opportunity to understand the size of [ISIS’s] collaboration with the Lebanese Intelligence, who are directing ISIS to hit the Sunnis [in Tripoli],” he said.
ISIS and Nusra have a strained relationship, alternately working together and engaging in fierce battles in Syria. Nusra Front’s leader, Abu Mohammad al-Golani, has refused to pledge his group’s allegiance to ISIS’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, whose ‘caliphate’ has taken over large districts in Iraq and Syria.
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