Daesh leader’s arrest prevented attacks in Lebanon: Interior minister

Lebanon’s Interior Minister Nohad Machnouk talks during a news conference in Beirut, Lebanon, January 19, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 20 January 2018

Daesh leader’s arrest prevented attacks in Lebanon: Interior minister

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s interior minister said Internal Security Forces (ISF) in June 2017 arrested Abu Jaafar Al-Iraqi, a Daesh leader, preventing terrorist attacks during the Christmas holidays.

Nohad Machnouk visited the ISF directorate on Friday and was accompanied by Gen. Emad Othman, the directorate’s director-general, to congratulate its leadership on the “extraordinary efforts in carrying out that exceptional security operation.”

The minister held a press conference, during which a documentary about the operation and its implications was featured.

Al-Iraqi, who was living secretly in Lebanon, “was forced to work” for the ISF “for five months without Daesh’s leadership knowing of his arrest,” said Machnouk.

“A volunteer source was contacted to call him on a daily basis, and rented a highly monitored house for him in the mountains,” he added.

“The result was the disclosure of all terrorist attacks that were to be carried out during the past five months.”

Al-Iraqi said Daesh could not carry out any attacks in Lebanon due to the state’s military and security measures.

Machnouk said: “The security operation was named Safe Lebanon to assure the Lebanese people as well as Arabs that Lebanon’s security was managed in a highly professional manner.”

War fears mount despite cease-fire between Gaza and Israel

Updated 22 July 2018

War fears mount despite cease-fire between Gaza and Israel

  • Any further escalation will deepen humanitarian catastrophe in the Strip: UN chief
  • Before the truce, Israel unleashed an offensive it says destroyed more than 60 Hamas targets, including three battalion headquarters

GAZA CITY: After seven chaotic and violent hours, quiet returned to the Gaza Strip Friday night. Yet on Saturday, civilians in the Palestinian enclave and Israel remained fearful of the potential for a new war.
The fatal shooting by a Palestinian sniper of an Israeli soldier during protests along the border on Friday sparked a widespread wave of Israeli bombing, with three fighters from Hamas killed and dozens of targets struck.
After intensive indirect mediation by the UN and Egypt, a truce came into force at midnight, yet both populations remained on high alert of another all-out conflict between Israel and Hamas.
“War is coming. I know that the (Israeli) occupation is carrying out raids to pave the way with their home base,” Somaya Rabaya, 21, from Deir Al-Balah in central Gaza, said.
While the cease-fire deal included an end to rockets and mortars, it didn’t include a commitment by Hamas to stop what Israeli media have dubbed “terror kites,” a senior Hamas source said.
In a brief statement on Saturday, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said the movement accepted the cease-fire brokered by Egyptian and UN officials and that calm had been restored. Later, the Israeli military announced a return to civilian routine along the volatile border.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was “gravely concerned” about the escalation and called on both sides to step back from the prospect of another devastating conflict. “Any further escalation will endanger the lives of Palestinians and Israelis alike, deepen the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza and undermine current efforts to improve livelihoods,” he said.
On Saturday morning in Gaza, 17-year-old Wissam was with a number of other youths fitting kites with small bottles full of diesel, while sheltering behind a sandbank for fear of Israeli strikes. “This morning, they bombed a Hamas observation post near here. I was afraid they would hit us with a missile,” he said.
Israel says it has no interest is engaging in another war with Hamas, but says it will no longer tolerate the Gaza militant campaign of flying the incendiary devices into Israel.
On Friday, Israel unleashed an offensive it says destroyed more than 60 Hamas targets, including three battalion headquarters.
“The attack delivered a severe blow to the Hamas’ training array, command and control abilities, weaponry, aerial defense and logistic capabilities along with additional military infrastructure,” the Israeli military said in a statement, adding that the strikes “will intensify as necessary.”