Lebanese prosecutors charge 21 in Al Qaida network with bombings
NICOSIA — Lebanon has exposed an Al Qaida network linked to attacks on the Iranian-sponsored Hizbullah.
Prosecutors have identified 21 people, most of them foreign nationals, as members of the Al Qaida network. The network, linked to several suicide car bombings, was said to have been headed by Naim Abbas.
"The government commissioner to Military Court, Judge Saqr Saqr, on Monday pressed charges against Naim Abbas, a Kataeb Azzam member, a woman and 19 others as being accused of preparing for terrorist actions through bringing explosives-laden cars from Syria to target Lebanese residential areas," Lebanon's official National News Agency said on Feb. 24.
Officials said only four of the suspects have been arrested. The rest, identified as Lebanese, Palestinians and Syrians, were deemed fugitives.
"They carried out terrorist acts by smuggling explosive-rigged vehicles from Syria into Lebanon with the aim of killing citizens, destroying public and private properties and serving a blow to the state's authority and prestige," Saqr said.
Saqr said the network worked for both the Abdullah Azzam Brigades as well as the Nusra Front for the Defense of the Levant. Both groups have claimed responsibility for car bombings against Hizbullah and Iran since November 2013.
Abbas, a Palestinian, was identified as leader of the network. Prosecutors determined that Abbas, in custody, was the No. 2 figure in Abdullah Azzam and charged with smuggling car bombs from Syria to Lebanon.
Prosecutors have also charged Abbas with helping direct two bombings against Hizbullah in Beirut. Abbas was arrested by the Lebanese Army in Beirut on Feb. 12, two months after the death of Azzam commander Majed Al Majed.
Officials said Abbas has been cooperating with authorities. They said he provided information on additional car bombing plots that prevented the explosion of a vehicle filled with 240 kilograms in Beirut in February.
Another detainee was identified as Jomana Humayed, who was allegedly driving a car bomb in eastern Lebanon. Humayed was said to have been captured based on information provided by Abbas.
Abbas, also known as Abu Ismail, was said to have detailed the network's links with Abdullah Azzam. Officials said Abbas was believed to have received the explosives mostly from the Beirut area.