Lebanese Army arrests 1,852 suspects in December
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.