Arrest of 19 ISIS militants
Following a deluge of security alerts issued by foreign embassies, the Lebanese army announced on September 15 that it had arrested 19 people connected to ISIS on suspicion of planning a terror attack in Lebanon. Army intelligence revealed that they had discovered a cell led by an Egyptian national Fadi Ibrahim Ahmed (known as Abu Khatib), who was hiding in the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp. The arrests took place after several army raids. The announcement came as Lebanese authorities sought to calm the panic raised a day earlier after the US Embassy in Lebanon on September 14 issued a notice to its citizens, warning that due to ongoing threats to locations such as Casino Du Liban in Jounieh, the embassy had barred its staff from visiting the casino. The US warning was swiftly followed by similar warnings from other embassies in Lebanon, including the French and Canadian embassies and the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which issued a notice to its citizens citing the US alert and warning that the risk from terrorism was high. The embassies called on their citizens to be vigilant in public spaces, warning that the risk of an attack was high. The raft of warnings prompted criticim from Lebanese authories, with the foreign ministry issuing a statement calling on the embassies to take into account the panic their statements may cause. Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk also tweeted that the Lebanese authorities were checking the authenticity of these threats and that there was “no need for fear or exaggeration.” Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil tweeted asking for calm, noting that the Lebanese state was aware of the dangers and was confronting them.