Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Breaking News: Bomb Defused, Weapons Intercepted

Quick Updates:
  • Sources in Lebanon have revealed that State Security agents have broken up a terrorist cell near the town of Zahleh. According to some sources the cell was made up of three fundamentalist Sunni individuals, according to all sources, they were in possession of large quantities of weapons and explosives. The suspects are now being interrogated.

    Zahleh is a predominantly Christian town in the country's Bekaa valley. It is only a few minutes' drive from the Syrian border and the main highway to Damascus, while also lying just to the south of the city of Baalbek (where a truck carrying weapons was intercepted late last night - see below for details).

  • More on the truck from YaLibnan:
    Security officials told the Associated Press the truckload of arms belonged to Hezbollah.

    They said the shipment of Grad rockets and ammunition for automatic rifles and machine guns was seized late Tuesday at a random army checkpoint at Douriss near Baalbek, a Hezbollah stronghold in east Lebanon's Bekaa valley.

    Six Hezbollah members in the truck were let go but the confiscated weapons were taken to the nearby Ablah army barracks, the officials said.

    The shipment's destination was not known. But An Nahar said the arms cache was planned for use in warfronts to be opened elsewhere in Palestinian refugee camps after attempts to start a warfront at the southern refugee camp of Ein al-Helweh failed.
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Quick Updates:

  • UNIFIL's spokeswoman announced that the area in which the bomb was defused today fell under the purview of the Lebanese Army and Internal Security Forces (ISF) and that UNIFIL had full confidence in the Lebanese Army and ISF's ability to provide security to the area.

  • Sources in Lebanon have linked Hizballah to the weapons truck intercepted at an Army checkpoint near the city of Baalbek. Quoting LBC, the official website of the Lebanese Forces also revealed that eyewitnesses had reported that several civilian cars had been acting as escorts for the truck and that at the time of this interception, the occupiers of those cars had entered into a verbal dispute with Army units involved in the interception.

    This news comes as other sources claimed that the weapons were en route to Syrian-backed factions in Palestinian camps with the aim of igniting conflict there and allowing the current crisis in Nahr el Bared to spread to other camps and parts of the country. The region around Baalbek is know for its heavy Hizballah presence.
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News services in Lebanon have revealed that the Lebanese Army has defused a bomb set to explode in the southern coastal town of Tyre. The bomb, according to news services, consisted of two kilograms of TNT explosives placed inside an infant milk formula container and augmented with a timer set to go off at 11:15 am. It was placed near an entrance to the city's popular Rest House along the beach. Perhaps more significantly, despite a series of bombs and explosions throughout the country in the past two weeks, this would be the first to be found in the security zone mandated to UNIFIL forces in Lebanon.

In other news, the Lebanese daily, An-Nahar, reported today the seizure of a truckload of weapons after it had crossed into Lebanon from Syria. According to the paper, the Lebanese Army stopped the truck at a checkpoint near the city of Baalbeck and arrested the driver as he attempted to flee.

This comes one day after the paper reported that senior Lebanese Army officers had informed the Prime Minister and Cabinet of the smuggling of weapons and fighters into Lebanon, from Syria.

Meanwhile, the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation (LBC) reported today that Lebanese Army and ISF units had uncovered a large weapons and explosives cache in the home of a man suspected of links to Fatah al Islam militants and residing in the norther region of Akkar. According to reports, the cache contained over 200 kilograms of explosives!

The Akkar region lies along the border with Syria in northern Lebanon, and is directly adjacent to the Nahr el Bared Refugee Camp where Lebanese Army units have been battling Fatah al Islam militants for 16 days now.



Smoke rises from the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in northern Lebanon June 5, 2007
(REUTERS/Jerry Lampen )

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Islamic Disengagement Force Deploys

In the Ein el Helweh camp, adjacent to the city of Saida in south of the country, the 'Islamic Disengagment Force' was reported to have deployed.

The force, the formation of which was generally rejected by mainstream Palestinian factions in the camp, was pushed for by Syrian-backed Palestinian factions and is seen as providing cover for the 60 or so members of the Syrian-backed Jund al Sham group which launched attacks on Lebanese Army positions in the Taamir district of the city of Saida, directly adjacent to the Ein el Helweh refugee camp.

Naharnet writes,

"The Palestinian source, who had taken part in negotiations with the Saniora government, criticized the disengagement force in Ein al-Hilweh saying its fighters are actually 'saving the necks of Jund al-Sham terrorists.'

'By separating them from the army, they are actually protecting them. The disengagement force is the practical application of coexistence with terrorists. If we coexist with them in Ein al-Hilweh, some one will say lets coexist with the others (Fatah al-Islam) in Nahr al-Bared.'

The PLO supports the Beirut government in its approach to "finish" Fatah al-Islam. The source, however, believes that 'as long as Jund al-Sham survives in Ein al-Hilweh, Fatah al-Islam might survive in Nahr al-Bared.'"
The Force is made up of 40 militants: 10 from the Asbat al Ansar group, 10 from a coalition of Palestinian factions in the camp, 10 from an islamic group calling itself Ansar Allah, and 10 from the mainstream Fatah movement. This according to the official website of the Lebanese Forces.


Palestinian gunmen of Ansar Allah in the refugee camp of Ein el-Hilweh, Lebanon on Tuesday, June 5, 2007.

(AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari)

12 comments:

  1. Readers are encouraged to post any info or updates they might have on the situation in Lebanon here.

    Thanks in advance!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Arabic Coffee Pot4:36 PM

    Looks like operations ongoing in Nahr el Bared!

    Army is doing well, taking over more and more FAI positions, and sweeping its own with bomb-detecting teams to make sure nothing is boobytrapped.

    GO ARMY!

    ReplyDelete
  3. valiumjunky6:24 PM

    Now every psychopath is going to start their own group to make trouble.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Jimmy6:58 PM

    REUTERS says:

    The Lebanese government said Fatah al-Islam had ordered Jund al-Sham to start the fighting in the south.

    Palestinian factions, including Fatah and the Islamist Hamas group, oppose Fatah al-Islam.

    A small bomb was found near a beach resort popular with U.N. peacekeepers in south Lebanon on Wednesday morning, security sources said. They said the 2 kg (4.4 pound) charge had been timed to go off at 6 a.m. (0300 GMT) but failed to detonate.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Orange Storange7:01 PM

    Wataniya 6/6/2007 - Khaled Aarar, our delegate in Zahle, reported that after information received by the security forces in Bekaa and a 15-day monitoring operation for the LA intelligence in Bekaa,an ISF patrol raided a house in Al Makawi street in Berrelias and arrested a group belonging to an islamic extremist organization;unclear information about the number of members,between 3 and 5 members and explosive packages, military rifles equipped with night vision, advanced communication devices, 2 computers, many video-photo cameras, multiple passports, passport photos belonging to girls, different seals, money from different currencies,religious books and maps for different Lebanese areas and small neighborhoods.
    And our delegate pointed to the fact that the group had rented a house on Al Makawi road where the majority of residents are palestinians and the raid was concluded with no mistakes or noise.

    ReplyDelete
  6. orange storange8:30 PM

    The Leb Army intercepted many sneaking attempts by the terrorists towards the southern side of the camp.

    It also arrested a fath al islam member dressed as a woman.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Jimmy8:38 PM

    AFP says:

    Fatah's leader in Lebanon, Sultan Abu al-Aynayn, said three gunmen had surrendered on Tuesday and that 18 others said they had stopped shooting and were seeking guarantees to turn themselves in, leaving about 75 militiamen still fighting.

    "We have information that there were some elements which gave themselves up, but the army has not received any of them," an army spokesman said. "We have information that some elements have also dropped their arms and left the fight, as many of them are in poor spirits.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Arabic Coffee Pot10:27 PM

    Reports of heavy fighting in Nahr el Bared, and of the Army using its helicopters in the fighting.

    ReplyDelete
  9. About those arrested near Zahleh:

    Police arrested two Syrians and an Iraqi citizen near the Syrian border on Wednesday for possessing fire arms and explosives, amid security sweeps in the trouble-ridden Lebanon.
    The three were arrested in the village of Bar Elias in east Lebanon's Bekaa valley about 10 kilometers from the main border crossing to Syria, they said.

    Police found weapons, explosives, detailed maps of villages and cities and night-vision goggles in their hideout.

    (From Naharnet)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Reports of heavy fighting in Nahr el Bared and some FAI fighters trying to surrender.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Anonymous5:18 AM

    For those who did not understand that preventive measures are prompt by the goverment, and those that did not recognize this goverment's failure to deal with the problem:
    http://videos.tf1.fr/video/emissions/septahuit/0,,3463731,00-sept-huit-liban-pays-otage-.html

    ReplyDelete
  12. I have no idea what you're trying to say in the preamble to the link, but the video is OK, just OK.

    However, if they had conducted a serious investigation of the background of leading Jund al Sham, Asbat al Ansar, and Fatah al Islam members they would have easily been able to trace them back to Syrian intelligence agencies (they did do that with Shaker Absi the leader of Fatah al Islam).

    ReplyDelete

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