Lebanon sentences 33 al Qaeda-inspired militants

The men, members of Fatah al-Islam group, were convicted of undermining state by plotting terrorist attacks.

Updated: May 13, 2010, 09:35 AM IST

Beirut: Lebanese judicial officials say 33 men convicted of belonging to an al Qaeda-inspired militant group have been sentenced to prison terms of up to 15 years.

The officials said the men, members of the Fatah al-Islam group, were also convicted of undermining the state by forming an "armed gang" and plotting terrorist attacks.

Fatah al-Islam fought a bloody three-month battle against the Army in north Lebanon in 2007. More than 200 militants, 170 soldiers and 47 Palestinian civilians died.

The officials said 20 of those sentenced late yesterday including Lebanese, Saudi and Palestinian nationals were in custody. The remaining 13, including the group`s top operative, were sentenced in absentia.

The officials spoke on Thursday on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to provide official statements.