Lebanon’s security agencies have foiled an Islamic State plot to blow up a restaurant in Beirut’s southern suburbs during the holy month of Ramadan, Lebanon’s Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq confirmed Tuesday during a meeting at the ministry with British Ambassador to Lebanon
“A successful preemptive operation has thwarted a bombing that terrorists were preparing for Beirut’s southern suburbs,” Mashnouq told the ambassador, adding that the operation involved “cooperation between General Security and the Intelligence Branch” of the Internal Security Forces.
“This is a proof of the high professionalism of the Lebanese security agencies and the importance of cooperation and coordination among the various security agencies,” Mashnouq added.
Mashnouq offered the British envoy Hugo Shorter his condolences over the victims of the London terrorist attacks.
Al-Akhbar newspaper had reported Tuesday that General Security in coordination with the ISF Intelligence Branch had “dismantled an IS-linked cell that had been plotting to stage a suicide attack on a restaurant at iftar time.”
Media reports said the cell comprised two Palestinians and a Yemeni.
The targeted restaurant is located in Hezbollah’s stronghold south of the capital Beirut
“One of them was arrested at al-Rabih Project in Tariq al-Jedideh on Thursday night while another suspect was arrested in Sidon,” al-Akhbar which is closely linked to Hezbollah said.
“A suicide vest that one of the would-be bombers had intended to use was seized” at the al-Rabih Project, the daily added.
According to the detainees’ confessions, one of them was supposed to blow himself up in the restaurant while the two others were involved in planning.
“They were receiving their orders from a Raqa-based IS leader through a Ain el-Hilweh intermediary,” al-Akhbar said.