Lebanese security forces arrest Daesh-linked minor

Daesh militants are recruiting minors to carry bombing missions, say Lebanese police. (Shutterstock image)
Updated 11 October 2018

Lebanese security forces arrest Daesh-linked minor

  • Young detainee has admitted to “joining many Daesh-affiliated groups about eight months ago, which distributed Daesh publications and ideologies” 
  • He said he was given instructions online on how to make bombs

BEIRUT: Lebanese internal security forces have announced the arrest of a Lebanese minor suspected of belonging to Daesh who was planning to carry out a terrorist operation by “placing a roadside bomb and remotely detonating it when a Lebanese army patrol passed in the area where he resides.”

Security sources told Arab News that the minor “is from the impoverished region of Akkar (northern Lebanon), and when he was arrested, he seemed convinced of what he was doing after he was persuaded by the people who communicated with him to carry out ‘jihad.’”

The Directorate General of the Security Forces, Public Relations Section, said in a statement that the arrest of the minor was part of “the preventive security strategy adopted by the information division of the internal security forces, in terms of focusing on members of the Daesh organization and those affected by its terrorist ideology.”

The directorate said it received information on Daesh’s intent to carry out terrorist operations and “as a result of tracking and monitoring, a special force of the division carried out a rapid security operation in which (the minor) A.D, born in 2002 in the Akkar area, was arrested and interrogated.” 

Consequently, the detainee admitted to “joining many Daesh-affiliated groups about eight months ago, which distributed Daesh publications and ideologies.” 

He added that he “met, through these groups, three people belonging to the organization, and discussed with them moving to Syria but, due to the difficulty in reaching Syria, they advised him to work for the organization in Lebanon because that combines the rewards for exodus and jihad itself.”

The directorate added in its statement that the minor “was convinced of their point of view, and told one of them that he intended to carry out a terrorist attack in Lebanon. The person encouraged him to do so and asked him to swear allegiance to Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi as the caliph of Muslims.

The person also told him that he would be assisted and directed in the manufacture of an explosive device in order to carry out an operation in Lebanon. 

The minor agreed and he was given the text of the oath of allegiance, which he read before that person. 

The person sent to the minor an electronic link under the name of the “explosives channel” containing methods and means of manufacturing and preparing explosives. For five months, the young boy learned how to manufacture explosives with 46-caliber nitrate and other materials. 

Two weeks before his arrest, the person sent him the way to prepare an explosive device and a detonator and asked him to get the necessary materials, so that the operation could be carried out through a “cellular phone” linked to the explosive device. 

According to the investigation, the detainee said he “started searching for nitrate but was unable to find it. 

“Moreover, he did not explore any specific targets, so he decided to put a roadside bomb and detonate it remotely when a Lebanese army patrol passed through the area where he lived.”

About a month ago, the directorate said the same person “sent him (the minor) a detailed videotape about how to prepare an explosive device using a domestic gas cylinder used for cooking, and asked him to prepare it because it was easy and the material was easy to find. 

“He (the minor) proceeded to prepare it secretly, but he was arrested before the device was finished.”

However, journalist Hazem Al-Amin, a specialist in terrorist groups, especially Daesh, told Arab News that he had doubts in the possibility of any communication “between Daesh and other groups in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon because the organization lost its ability to communicate two years ago and became separate segments.”

Al-Amin also questioned the possibility that the young boy communicated with Daesh, saying that the Lebanese security services did not show competence or credibility in the field of investigations conducted after the big scandal of one of the security services in the case of Ziad Itani, which later proved to be fabricated.

But Al-Amin stressed that “individuals can carry out terrorist acts,” pointing out that Al-Nusra Front terrorist organization is still operating in the Syrian province of Idlib and has a limited presence in a number of areas surrounding Syria.

Air raids kill 12 civilians in militant-held Syrian town: monitor

Updated 22 May 2019

Air raids kill 12 civilians in militant-held Syrian town: monitor

  • The militant-dominated Idlib region is nominally protected by a buffer zone deal
  • The Observatory said they have no proof of the chemical attacks

BEIRUT: Air strikes by Damascus or its ally Moscow killed 12 civilians in a market in Syria’s Idlib province, a monitor said Wednesday, and denied allegations that the government used chemical weapons.

Another 18 people were wounded when the warplanes hit the militant-held town of Maarat Al-Numan around midnight on Tuesday, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The market was crowded with people out and about after breaking the daytime fast observed by Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan.

The Observatory said it had no evidence to suggest the Syrian army had carried out a new chemical attack despite Washington’s announcement it had suspicions.

“We have no proof at all of the attack,” Rami Abdul Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told AFP.

“We have not documented any chemical attack in the mountains of Latakia,” he said.
The air strikes in Idlib came as heavy clashes raged in the north of neighboring Hama province after the militants launched a counterattack on Tuesday against pro-government forces in the town of Kafr Nabuda.
Fresh fighting on Wednesday took the death toll to 52 — 29 troops and militia and 23 militants, the Observatory said.
It said that the militants had retaken most of the town from government forces who recaptured it on May 8.
The militant-dominated Idlib region is nominally protected by a buffer zone deal, but the regime and its Russian ally have escalated their bombardment of it in recent weeks, seizing several towns on its southern flank.
A militant alliance led by Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate, Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham, controls a large part of Idlib province as well as adjacent slivers of Aleppo, Hama and Latakia provinces.

The northern mountains are the only part of Latakia province, on Syria’s Mediterranean coast, that are not firmly in the hands of the government.

The Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham accused government forces on Sunday of launching a chlorine gas attack on its fighters in the north of Latakia province.

The Syrian army dismissed the reports as a fabrication, a military source told the pro-government Al-Watan newspaper.

But the US State Department said on Tuesday it was assessing indications that the government of president Bashar Assad used chemical weapons on Sunday.

“There were no civilians in the area,” Abdel Rahman said.

White Helmets rescue volunteers, who have reported past chemical attacks in rebel-held areas of Syria, told AFP Wednesday that they had no information on the purported gas attack.

International inspectors say Assad’s forces have carried out a series of chemical attacks during the Syrian civil war, which has killed more than 370,000 people and displaced millions since it started in 2011.
Russia and rebel ally Turkey inked the buffer zone deal in September to avert a government offensive on the region which threatened humanitarian disaster for its three million residents.
President Bashar Assad’s government has renewed its bombardment of the region since HTS took control in January.
Russia too has stepped up its air strikes in recent weeks as Turkey proved unable to secure implementation of the truce deal by the militants.
The Observatory says more than 180 civilians have been killed in the flare-up since April 30, and the United Nations has said tens of thousands have fled their homes.