21st Century Wire says…
Concerns about the security of Lebanon, particularly the northern area around Tripoli – from a residential ISIS threat spilling over from neighboring Syria – have been lingering for some time now. This latest incident could signal more trouble ahead for the Lebanese…
CBC reports: “Unlike in Syria or Iraq, the al-Qaeda-breakaway Islamic State group does not hold territory in Lebanon. But along with Syria’s al-Qaeda affiliate, the Nusra Front, it has established footholds in remote mountains along Lebanon’s remote eastern border, from where it launches almost daily incursions further afield.”
Sectarian tensions between Sunni and Shia is another reason why Lebanon is flirting with a potential ISIS crisis. Add Hezbollah into the mix and you have all the makings of situation on the brink:
“Islamic State fighters have since beheaded two Lebanese soldiers. Nusra Front militants have shot dead a third. In return for remaining hostages, they have issued various demands, including the withdrawal of Hezbollah troops from Syria, and the release of Islamists from Lebanese prisons.”
“The Lebanese are bitterly divided over Syria’s civil war. Hezbollah fighters have gone to join Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces in their battle against Sunni rebels, drawing anger at home from Lebanon’s Sunnis and stoking Sunni-Shia tensions. This in turn led to tit-for-tat suicide bombings and several rounds of street clashes in Lebanon in the past year.”
Already, Jihadist recruitment in poor Sunni areas in northern Lebanon – is on the increase, and Lebanese Security Forces expect to be busy dealing with this emerging situation for a while to come.
Lebanese army soldiers patrol a street in in Tripoli, northern Lebanon, May 14, 2012. (Daily Star/REUTERS/Omar Ibrahim)
Clashes erupt between Army, gunmen in Tripoli
BEIRUT: Clashes erupted Friday night between the Army and gunmen in Lebanon’s northern city of Tripoli, killing a militant leader and slightly wounding two soldiers, an security sources said.
Security sources told The Daily Star that a shootout erupted after about 20 militants attacked an Army post in the neighborhood of Khan al-Askar around 8:30 p.m.
The militants then withdrew from the neighborhood and headed towards the old souks, slipping through small alleyways that cannot be accessed by armored vehicles, the sources said.
The Army quickly deployed reinforcements to surround the gunmen in the old souks. Soldiers closed roads leading to the Bab al-Raml neighborhood, near the site of the fighting.
An Army source said two soldiers were slightly wounded in the attack, but he could not provide a casualty toll for the militants.
Other security sources said the militant leader was killed.
The clashes ended after about an hour, but soldiers continued to hunt down militants in the area.
The Army raided a suspected militant hideout in the Dinnieh region Thursday morning, killing three men and capturing Ahmad Salim Mikati.
Security sources said Friday that Mikati admitted to belonging to ISIS and was plotting to kidnap soldiers.
Mikati’s nephew, Bilal Mikati, was allegedly involved in the beheading of Lebanese captive soldier Ali Sayyed in late-August.
READ MORE ISIS NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire ISIS Files