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Lebanese interior minister slams arrest of ISIS women

The minister says no evidence suggests the women were plotting attacks

Published: Updated:

Lebanon’s interior minister has criticized the arrest of a former wife and daughter of ISIS leader Abu Bak al-Baghdadi, saying there was no evidence that they were plotting any terror attack.

Minister Nuhad al-Mashnouq’ statements came as al-Qaeda-linked group al-Nusra Front executed a captive Lebanese solider, who is one of about 30 others being held by Syrian extremists.

Mashnouq said he had preferred monitoring and restricting the movement of the two women to “send a message” to their groups and pressure them to release the captive soldiers.

He said while arresting them was counter-productive, leaking the news of their arrest to the media was a “big mistake” because that has put the army and security services under scrutiny by religious leaders and human rights groups.

“There is no decision to release the women, who will be part of negotiations," he said, adding that in case of a prisoner's exchange, the two women would be placed under house arrest and would not be handed over to the extremist groups.

Al-Nusra Front has threatened to execute another soldier if the women are not freed.

“If the sisters that were unjustly arrested are not released, then after a short period of time the death sentence will be executed against another prisoner we hold,” al-Nusra said.
Lebanese security sources said they were trying to verify the claim.

The group did not identify the women and children it said Lebanon was holding, nor did it say how many were missing.