Saudis trying to help Lebanon identify “Majid”


Majed al-MajedThe Saudi Arabian authorities are reportedly trying to help Lebanon identify the mystery man that the Lebanese army intelligence arrested recently. Is it Majid bin Muhammad al-Majid, leader of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, the Al Qaeda linked group that claimed responsibility for the twin suicide bombing at the Iranian embassy in November?

Several conflicting reports followed the arrest of the “Emir “of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, because neither the Saudi’s nor the Lebanese were absolutely sure of his identity.

Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awadh Asiri expressed relief on Thursday over the arrest .

“If DNA tests prove that the person detained is Majid then we’re extremely thrilled,” Asiri said in comments published in the daily al-Hayat newspaper.

The Saudi Arabian and Lebanese authorities are coordinating the DNA tests and the results could be announced within 24 hours according to the reports coming from Beirut and saudi Arabia.

Asiri pointed out that Majid “assaulted his country before attacking the Iranian Embassy,” pointing out that his country has been pursuing him before the twin suicide bombing that targeted Tehran’s embassy in Beirut.

Saudi Arabia’s interior ministry also confirmed that Majid who was born in Riyadh in 1973 ranks 70th on the most wanted list issued by Saudi Arabia, which includes 85 of the most dangerous Al-Qaeda members.

Asiri who currently resides in Riyadh, said that Saudi Arabia had previously issued a global alert over Majid’s status.

Majid was admitted to a hospital where he is undergoing treatment over kidney failure and is under maximum security.

“It’s normal to coordinate with the Lebanese authorities to continue the required legal measures in order to hand him over to Saudi Arabia if his identity was confirmed.” Asiri reportedly was quoted as saying by al Hayat.

LBC reported on Tuesday that Lebanese army intelligence arrested Majid two days ago

The LBC report was based on a statement by AFP which said that Caretaker Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn had confirmed the arrest of Majid.
But Ghosn denied on Wednesday making any such statements to any media outlets, according to a a statement by his press office .

He reportedly told AFP: “He was arrested by the intelligence services of the Lebanese army in Beirut.”

Ghosn reportedly did not specify when the arrest took place.

The arrest is seen as a major achievement for the Lebanese army, which has seen a series of suspicious bombings and assassinations in the country in recent years.

The Abdullah Azzam Brigades was designated in the United States as a “terrorist organization” in 2012, and has in the past claimed responsibility for firing rockets into Israel from Lebanon.

Majid was also part of other extremist organizations linked with Al-Qaeda, as well as armed activities in Iraq launched from Lebanon. He had entered the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian Refugee camp prior to the operation launched by the Lebanese army against Fatah al-Islam, but managed to escape following the end of the operation.

A life sentence was issued against him in absentia following the Nahr al-Bared events. He is also wanted in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and several Western countries, including the United States.

Majid is accused of close links with Al-Qaeda, through financial support provided by the organization and his attempts to smuggle political prisoners out of Yemen, in addition to smuggling individuals into Iraq.

On December 3, Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah accused Saudi Arabia of being behind the bombing against the Iranian Embassy, adding that he has no doubt that the Saudi intelligence agency has close links with the Abdullah Azzam Brigades.

The Abdullah Azzam Brigades “is a bona fide group that has a Saudi emir and its leadership is directly linked to Saudi intelligence,” Nasrallah added.

The Hezbollah chief also noted that the bombing was Saudi Arabia’s expression of anger against Tehran because of Riyadh’s defeat in Syria.

The Abdullah Azzam Brigades also claimed responsibility for the killing of Senior Hezbollah commander Hassan al-Laqis .

Hezbollah has been openly backing troops loyal to President Bashar Assad against the rebels seeking to topple him, despite the Baabda declaration which calls for distancing Lebanon from the regional conflicts .