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Lebanon disrupts Daesh cell plot using informant

Lebanese security forces carry out an anti-terror operation against certain exchange offices and money transfer companies, which were allegedly transfering money to terrrorists, in Beirut, Lebanon on March 8, 2017 [Ratib Al Safadi / Anadolu Agency]
Lebanese security forces carry out anti-terror operations in Beirut, Lebanon on 8 March 2017 [Ratib Al Safadi/Anadolu Agency]

Lebanon has thwarted a planned Daesh cell by detaining a militant and turning him into an informant, Interior Minister Nohad Machnouk said on Friday.

The Iraqi man, identified only by the initials A.Z., had been sent by Daesh to Lebanon to form a new cell to carry out attacks, Machnouk said.

The Intelligence Division of Lebanon's Internal Security Force said in a statement at Machnouk's news conference that security services had tracked A.Z.'s activities in Iraq and after he arrived in Lebanon in June.

When it became clear he was planning to return to Iraq, he was arrested and turned into an informant.

For five months A.Z. carried on communicating with Daesh abroad and working on the cell – all the while feeding information back to Lebanese security forces.

Daesh asked him "to exert maximum effort to carry out terror attacks in Lebanon especially during the holiday season and end of year celebrations", the information division said.

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The operation was ended after intelligence showed Daesh command abroad had become suspicious of A.Z. and the lack of attacks, it said.

A number of arrests were made as a result of the operation, Machnouk said.

Lebanese authorities say they have foiled a number of Daesh attacks and networks in the country since a 2015 bomb in a southern suburb of the capital killed at least 43.

In August, Daesh and other militants were cleared from the Lebanon-Syria border area after separate offensives by the Lebanese army and Lebanon's powerful Hezbollah militia.

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