Lebanon army detains suspect in beheading of soldier
The Lebanese army said on Tuesday it had detained a suspect in the August 2014 beheading of a soldier, along with a second man accused of attacks on troops.
Beirut: The Lebanese army said on Tuesday it had detained a suspect in the August 2014 beheading of a soldier, along with a second man accused of attacks on troops.
"The intelligence directorate this morning arrested wanted terrorists Omar Miqati, known as `Abu Huraira`, and Bilal Miqati, known as `Abu Omar al-Lubnani` or `Abu Omar al-Trabulsi", the army command said in a statement.
The statement said the men were accused of "belonging to a terrorist organisation and participating in attacks on the military and terrorist operations on Lebanese territory".
"One of them is also suspected of involvement in the slaughter of a kidnapped soldier," it added.
The statement did not specify which man was suspected of the murder, but the army last year named Bilal Miqati as a suspect in the August 2014 beheading of soldier Ali al-Sayyed.
He was among some 30 Lebanese soldiers and policemen kidnapped by jihadists from the Islamic State group and Al-Qaeda`s Syrian branch Al-Nusra Front in August last year.
The members of the security forces were abducted during clashes with jihadists in Lebanon`s Arsal region near the border with Syria.
A truce ended the fighting, but the jihadists took the hostages with them as they withdrew into the mountains between Lebanon and Syria.
They have since killed four hostages, and a fifth has died of injuries.
The other 25 remain in the hands of the jihadist group, nine with IS and 16 with Al-Nusra, despite the efforts of Qatari mediators trying to win their release.
A security source said the two Miqatis, believed to be cousins, were arrested at a checkpoint in the mountainous area near the town of Arsal.
"They were coming from the mountainous region of Qalamun (in Syria) where they were fighting with jihadist groups," the source said, adding that the two were clean-shaven in an attempt to avoid being recognised.
The source said the suspects had fled Lebanon after taking part in clashes with the army in the northern port city of Tripoli in October, and that Omar Miqati was suspected of murdering two Lebanese soldiers there.
Omar Miqati`s father Ahmad was arrested in October over allegations he was recruiting for IS.
Lebanon has tried to insulate itself from the conflict in neighbouring Syria, where jihadist groups have attracted thousands of foreign fighters.
But the war has regularly spilled over into Lebanon, raising already existing sectarian tensions in the country.