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Lebanon army nabs beheading suspect in raid

In a statement, the military said ‘terrorist’ Ahmad Salim Miqati was arrested in the Dinniyeh neighborhood of north Lebanon

Published: Updated:

Lebanese soldiers arrested an Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) recruiter suspected of beheading a captured soldier, in a raid on Thursday that caught more suspects and killed three gunmen, the army said.

In a statement, the military said “terrorist” Ahmad Salim Miqati was arrested in the Dinniyeh neighborhood of north Lebanon during an early morning raid on his apartment.

A Lebanese soldier was slightly wounded in what the statement dubbed as a “critical security operation,” Lebanese state-run NNA news agency reported.

Miqati and his son Omar were arrested in the raid. They, along with a Miqati nephew identified as Bilal “were involved in the slaying of martyred Sergeant Ali Sayyid” in the border town of Arsal, the army said.

Tensions have soared in Lebanon since August when the army fought deadly clashes with extremists of ISIS and Al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front in Arsal.

The extremists are demanding that Lebanon free Islamist prisoners.

No results yet

Sayyid was one of 30 soldiers and policemen captured by extremists in one of the August battles.

The extremists have since executed three of them, and Qatari-led mediation has so far yielded no results.

Miqati “recently pledged allegiance to terrorist organisation Daesh,” using an Arabic acronym for ISIS, the army said.
Also known as Abi Bakr and Abul Huda, Miqati is “one of the most important members” of ISIS in northern Lebanon, the army added, accusing him of recruiting Lebanese to join extremists in neighboring Syria.

Separately, a security source reported the arrest of a soldier who recently announced his defection from the army, the fifth to do so since August.

All have announced their desertion in videos released by extremists groups in which they claim they have joined militant ranks.
The army also confirmed reports it had seized “light and medium weapons... (as well as) ammunition, rocket-propelled and hand grenades, explosive belts and military equipment”.

Since August, the army has carried out near-daily raids in the border region with Syria - and in the restive north where four soldiers have been killed - to hunt for extremist suspects.

Dozens of Syrians and Lebanese accused of ties to radical groups have been arrested in Lebanon since the August battles.