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Lebanon arrests Daesh-linked suspect over bomb attack plots

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Lebanese security forces keep watch as Muslim worshippers perform Eid al-Fitr prayers outside the Mohammad al-Amin mosque in downtown Beirut on June 4, 2019. (Photo by AFP)

Lebanese Security forces have arrested a Syrian national suspected of having links to the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group that was plotting to launch attacks on religious sites in the south of the country.

The Internal Security Forces (ISF) said in a statement on Monday that they had “tracked down and identified a man in southern Lebanon who actively publishes ISIL propaganda on social media networks and recruits new members” for the terrorist group.

The suspect, a 20-year-old Syrian national from Lebanon’s southern village of Yater, was in contact with individuals outside Lebanon who helped him to create social networking sites to promote Takfiri ideology, according to the statement.

The ISF said the Syrian national used the sites to discuss plans to carry out bomb attacks on Christian churches, inspired by the deadly Easter bombings in Sri Lanka, and Shia religious centers in the south.

According to the ISF, the suspect shared in April a Daesh video that showed the group’s leader Ibrahim al-Samarrai, also known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, hailing the Sri Lanka bombings, which targeted churches and luxury hotels in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo and two other cities on April 21 and claimed at least 253 lives.

He also downloaded a manual compiled by followers of the Takfiri terrorist group instructing readers on how to make improvised bombs and explosives, the ISF statement added.

The suspect is also believed to have spray painted Daesh slogans on walls in the Yater village.

Lebanon has often seen the infiltration of Takfiri elements from neighboring Syria into its territory, where they target the civilian population or security forces with bombings.

In August 2014, members of the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly known as Nusra Front, and Daesh terrorist groups overran the town of Arsal, located 124 kilometers northeast of Beirut, killing a number of Lebanese forces. They took 30 soldiers hostage, most of whom have been released.

Since then, Hezbollah resistance fighters and Lebanese military forces have been defending Lebanon on the country’s northeastern frontier against foreign-backed terrorist groups from Syria.

Hezbollah fighters have fended off several Daesh attacks inside Lebanon. They have also been providing assistance to Syrian army forces to counter the ongoing foreign-sponsored militancy.

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