The Islamic State (Isis) could soon declare an Islamic emirate in Lebanon, to serve as a geographical extension of its so-called “Islamic State”.
The Sunni Islamist organization has begun preparations to set up a military organizational committee tasked with running Lebanese affairs and considering Lebanon as part of its state, according to security sources quoted by the Daily Star.
To achieve this goal, IS fighters have demanded support from the militant group in northern Syria.
Sources added that arrangements to form an IS command for the Lebanon emirate were taking place under the supervision of the group commander Khalaf al-Zeyabi Halous, who has been codenamed “Abu Musaab Halous”.
Halous, a Syrian who played a key role in the IS offensive to capture the Raqqa province in 2013, recently visited the Qalamoun region on the Lebanese-Syrian border with a number of IS military commanders.
There, they met with field commanders with whom he discussed the creation of security and military formations between Qalamoun and Lebanon, the sources said.
This comes amid reports that terrorist organizations, including IS and al-Qaeda affiliated Nusra Front in Syria, are preparing to launch attacks deep into Lebanese territory, not only from the outskirts of the north-eastern town of Arsal in the Baalbek region, but also from along the eastern frontier.
In the meantime, the Daily Star also reported that an influential party in Lebanon has received important information indicating that IS is bent on recruiting more suicide bombers equipped with explosives belts to target Shiite gatherings in Beirut and the southern suburbs as well as French and Western interests.
The sources said the Iranian Embassy in Beirut, is also vulnerable to another assault. The Iranian embassy was previously targeted by extremists in November 2013. The suicide bombing resulted in 23 deaths and at least 160 injuries.
Lebanese security forces have been on high alert in recent months. Major General Abbas Ibrahim, head of Lebanon’s Directorate of General Security (DGS), warned in January that the number of militants on the border has been increasing, and incursions between security forces and jihadists have been taking place.
“In the recent period about 700 new fighters pledged allegiance, and so they are now more than 1,000 fighters,” the general told Reuters on January 4.
He added that the Lebanese security forces have carried out successful operations against militants near the border.
In addition to government forces, Lebanese Christians have been arming themselves to defend their land and families from the extremists.
“With the Syrian war next door, we have many troubles, many suspicious people come here, we have to be on high alert. We have to defend our land from terrorists, from ISIS and Nusra Front (an Al-Qaeda branch operating in the area),” Abu Tony, a militia member in the town of Qaa in northwestern Lebanon, told RT in October.
The war in neighboring Syria which began in 2011 has caused an increase of violent incidents on the border. There have been multiple clashes between the Lebanese army and militants in the coastal city of Tripoli. In 2014, Syria’s Al-Qaeda wing, joined by ISIS, attacked the border town of Arsal and took Lebanese soldiers captive.
IB Times /RT