Le­banese Army ar­rests 1,852 sus­pects in De­cem­ber

The Daily Star (Lebanon) - - LEBANON -

The fol­low­ing se­cu­rity de­vel­op­ments took place across Le­banon Tues­day:

LE­BANESE ARMY AN­NOUNCES 1,852 AR­RESTED IN DE­CEM­BER

Over 1,800 sus­pects re­lated to crimes in­clud­ing ter­ror­ism and drug smug­gling were ar­rested by the Le­banese Army through­out De­cem­ber, the force an­nounced.

In a state­ment, the Army said 1,852 sus­pects of nu­mer­ous na­tion­al­i­ties were ar­rested na­tion­wide on charges such as be­ing a mem­ber of an ex­trem­ist group, plan­ning ter­ror­ist acts or drug smug­gling. A num­ber were ar­rested on lesser charges in­clud­ing lack­ing proper doc­u­men­ta­tion. As a re­sult of raids, the Army said it con­fis­cated anti-air­craft mis­siles, 20 ri­fles, seven guns, 14 rocket-pro­pelled grenades, an amount of light am­mu­ni­tion, det­o­na­tors and Tasers. The force also im­pounded 132 cars, six trucks and trac­tors, 209 mo­tor­bikes and 12 fish­ing boats, in ad­di­tion to an undis­closed quan­tity of drugs and elec­tri­cal equip­ment.

COURT POSTPONES ASSIR TRIAL, THREAT­ENS TO AP­POINT LAWYER FOR HIM

The Mil­i­tary Court post­poned the joint trial of Salafist Sheikh Ah­mad al-Assir and 33 oth­ers un­til Feb. 28 be­cause, once again, no de­fense at­tor­neys rep­re­sent­ing Assir at­tended.

“[My le­gal team] did not at­tend the ses­sion be­cause of the same rea­sons they had be­fore,” Assir said, af­ter the court asked why his de­fense team was ab­sent. “That is, un­til they are al­lowed to … con­duct in­ves­ti­ga­tions over who shot at the Army and caused the Abra in­ci­dent.”

Assir’s de­fense team has re­fused to at­tend ses­sions un­til the pub­lic pros­e­cu­tor brings charges fol­low­ing ev­i­dence that the de­fense team says proves Hezbol­lah-af­fil­i­ated Re­sis­tance Brigades ini­ti­ated the 2013 Abra clashes.

Assir and his fol­low­ers are ac­cused of in­sti­gat­ing clashes with the Army in the Abra district near Si­don in 2013. The en­gage­ment lasted three days and left 18 sol­diers and some 40 mil­i­tants dead.

The mil­i­tary court also de­cided that if Assir does not find ad­e­quate rep­re­sen­ta­tion by Feb. 28, it will ac­ti­vate Ar­ti­cle 59 of the Mil­i­tary Ju­di­ciary Law and ap­point a lawyer for him.

The pub­lic pros­e­cu­tor also re­jected 33 co-de­fen­dants’ re­quest to sep­a­rate Assir’s case from their own due to the sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween the cases.

OVERNIGHT EX­PLO­SION IN AIN AL-HIL­WEH

An overnight ex­plo­sion hit the Pales­tinian camp of Ain al-Hil­weh, the lat­est se­cu­rity in­ci­dent in the south Le­banon camp. No in­juries were re­ported.

A stick of dy­na­mite was re­port­edly thrown into a park­ing lot next to one of the Fatah fac­tion’s of­fices.

No one was killed or in­jured, and the ex­plo­sion’s ef­fects were lim­ited to ma­te­rial dam­ages.

The blast comes as fac­tions con­tinue to at­tempt to re­store sta­bil­ity to the restive camp fol­low­ing nearly a month of clashes and vi­o­lence.

BODY FOUND IN WADI HMAYED

The bul­let-rid­den corpse of a Le­banese na­tional was dis­cov­ered in the Wadi Hmayed area east of the border town of Ar­sal.

The body of the man, iden­ti­fied as 37-year-old Is­mael A., was trans­ferred to the Rahmah Hos­pi­tal for foren­sic ex­am­i­na­tion.

Se­cu­rity around Ar­sal has been tight as mil­i­tants, in­clud­ing Daesh (ISIS) cells, main­tain a foot­ing around its rugged out­skirts.

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