By Youssef Diab
A Palestinian detainee in Lebanon, held on terrorism charges, revealed that the ISIS terrorist group had plotted to assassinate Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat, as well as carry out a number of attacks in the country.
Imad Yassine told a court where he was standing trial that ISIS sought to storm with a car bomb Jumblatt’s Mokhtara residence in Mount Lebanon or his home in Beirut. The leader would then be assassinated “because he is the smartest politician in Lebanon,” added the suspect.
The detainee said that creating sectarian strife and sparking civil war in Lebanon was the goal of the plot.
Yassine said that ISIS member Mohammed Kota informed him of the plot.
The group had even carried out surveillance against the target, but that was as far as the plan got before it was abandoned, he told the court.
He said that he opposed assassinating Jumblatt because he had championed the Palestinian cause for decades.
Yassine, who is described as the ISIS leader in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain el-Hilweh in southern Lebanon, was arrested by Lebanese military intelligence in October 2016.
The arrest was made during a swift operation after authorities had received information that a series of terrorist attacks were going to be carried out in the country.
The suspect said that he and other ISIS members in the refugee camp had set a number of potential targets in Lebanon. They included the country’s infrastructure, especially tourist locations, such as the central commercial district in Downtown Beirut and Casino du Liban north of the capital.
They also plotted to target the Zahrani gas station, Jiyeh power plant, the main market in the southern city of Nabatiyeh and a restaurant in the coastal city of Jounieh.
Yassine explained that his role was to simply attend the ISIS meeting in order to set the pace and make sure that the plotters were not hasty in their actions.
The plotters included Mohammed al-Chechani, one of the most prominent ISIS members, and his aide Jamal al-Moubayed and Kota.
The detainee denied that he was the ISIS leader in Ain el-Hilweh, asking: “How can I be the leader and wander around the camp without any guards. I was even arrested while I was headed alone to the mosque.”
Earlier on Monday, State Commissioner to the Military Court Judge Saqr Saqr charged Ali al-Hujairi, former municipal chief of the northeastern border town of Arsal, with belonging to an “armed terrorist group (al-Nusra Front).”
He was also charged with facilitating the infiltration of gunmen to take part in clashes against the Lebanese army in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
Hujairi was charged with kidnapping Lebanese and foreign nationals, handing them over to terrorist groups and releasing them in exchange for ransom.
Ash Sharq Al Awsat