Lebanon army arrests Abdullah Azzam Brigades commander


abdallah azzam brigadeFollowing a period of intense surveillance, the Lebanese Army arrested Abdullah Azzam Brigades commander Naim Abbas, considered to be the most wanted man by the Lebanese army intelligence .

Abbas admitted under interrogation to the existence of a Toyota RAV-4 rigged with explosives parked in Beirut’s Tariq al-Jedided, and revealed the existence of other rigged cars, now being investigated by security forces. Abbas also confirmed that he was connected to a number of recent bombings according to a statement from army command released Wednesday, NOW reported on Thursday .

Shortly after Abbas’ arrest and the dismantling of the Tariq al-Jedideh bomb, the army dismantled another car bomb in the Beqaa town of Arsal. The driver and two other passengers in the silver Kia were women, NOW quoted a military source as saying

The source identified the three women as Joumana Hassan Hamid, Hala Ahmad Rayed, and Khadija Mohammad Awda.

Al-Joumhouria newspaper reported that Abbas was wanted by the Lebanese army intelligence’s after it learned of his role in several terrorist attacks.

“Following the dangerous confessions of Sheikh Omar al-Atrash, [Abbas] became the most wanted man for army intelligence after it discovered his key role in the explosions that took place in the Dahiyeh areas of Roueiss and Bir al-Abed,” a military source told Al-Joumhouria.

The source stated that Abbas was also involved in the assassination of former army chief of operations General Francois Hajj and former Future bloc MP Walid Eido, and has also been accused of planting explosive devices on the Rmeileh highway, south of Beirut, targeting UNFIL patrols. Abbas was a resident of the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain al-Hilweh, but left several days before his arrest.

“Abbas left the Ain al-Hilweh camp days ago…He was trained in Iraq, and has participated directly in the war in Syria, where he trained armed rebels in the Yarmouk Palestinian Refugee camp in Damascus,” the report stated.

Naim Abbas’ real name was Naim Ismail Mahmoud, but he used the alias Abu Suleiman for security reasons.

“Abbas was the most dangerous security mastermind in the Abdallah Azzam Brigades,” the report added.

Al-Joumhouria also reported that the rigged car found in Arsal was going to be used to target Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Manar TV in Beirut.

As-Safir newspaper reported that Abbas was tracked with the help of one of the Western intelligence services.

A military source told the paper that Omar al-Atrash had confessed to having worked with Abbas, who delivered rigged cars to him near Tariq al-Jedideh.

The report also stated that an army intelligence unit raided Abbas’ apartment in the Al-Shaar building, in Tariq al-Jedideh, but found it empty. Abbas was caught attempting to flee through the building’s rooftop. Three other members of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades were living in the building and were arrested by the army, and had their laptop and documents seized.

Abbas revealed he was preparing to target the Beirut suburb of Dahiyeh with rockets during a festival to commemorate Hezbollah commanders who have died in battle.

As-Safir reported that he also admitted that he prepared the suicide bomber who targeted a bus in the Beirut area of Choueifat, a Syrian national who lived in Tariq al-Jedided.

Abbas told investigators that he and his group were using a stockpile of weapons in the town of Saadiyat, which was later raided by the army who seized several Grad missiles, suicide belts, explosive material, and equipment to forge IDs and car papers.

The report also noted that the car bomb dismantled in Arsal,was to be delivered to Abbas, who was to decide where it should be detonated after he had prepared a man to conduct the operation.

The army is currently looking for the man, who is reportedly a Syrian national.

Suleiman hails the army’s achievement

Lebanese President Michel Suleiman hailed the army’s arrest of Abdullah Azzam Brigades commander and the dismantling of two car bombs in Beirut and the Beqaa.

“I hope the politicians are aware of the dangerous situation and what is being plotted for Lebanon, so that they rush to form a new cabinet…” Suleiman said during a security meeting held at the Baabda presidential palace on Thursday.

Efforts to form a new government reached an impasse last week when the FPM rejected a proposed rotation of ministerial portfolios that would see the party lose control of the Energy Ministry, which is currently being run by Gebran Bassil.

Update: Security sources told MTV that there is no link between Naim Abbas and the assassinations of Francois Hajj, Walid Eido or Pierre Gemayel.

Earlier reports linked the detained Abdullah Azzam Brigades commander to the above assassinations.