The Nusra Front Monday issued a new threat against the captive soldiers and policemen being held on Lebanon’s northeastern border after police raided a notorious prison packed with Islamists earlier in the day.
In response, the families of the captives blocked a major Beirut road Monday, in the first protest of its kind since they removed road barriers from a street in the capital’s downtown district on Dec. 23.
A bone-chilling photo posted to a Nusra-affiliated Twitter page showed 12 captives with their hands bound and lined up in a single row laying face down in the snow as five black-clad masked gunmen stood behind them with their rifles pointed at the hostages.
“Who will pay the price?” read the caption. The same slogan had been used to threaten the hostages before killing two on previous occasions since they were abducted in August.
In a follow-up post the Nusra Front displayed six close-up photos of gruesome bullet wounds. The caption alleged that “Roumieh prisoners sustained dangerous wounds” after the Lebanese Army opened fire on some of the inmates during a surprise raid Monday.
Lebanese police raided Roumieh Prison Monday, emptying out its notorious Bloc B after intercepting calls between Islamist prisoners and members of the cell behind Saturday's suicide bombings in Tripoli.
Roumieh’s Block B, which holds around 900 prisoners, including more than 300 who are labeled as terrorists by security forces, boasts a collection of dangerous individuals accused of belonging to extreme Islamist movements such as ISIS, Al-Qaeda and its Syrian affiliate the Nusra Front, and Fatah al-Islam, among others.
Following the raid, Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk said that the operation was carried out in a "clean and professional manner," noting that no inmates were injured in the process.
Hours earlier, the jihadi group published a less explicit threat to resume killing the captives in response to the police raid on Roumieh Prison.
"Due to the deterioration of the security situation in Lebanon, you will hear some surprises about the destiny of our war captives, so wait for it," the tweet read.
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