Lebanon army arrests 5 people in Arsal, seizes explosive belt
The military officers detained the five individuals as they were riding in a car toward the outskirts of Arsal, which borders Syria, said an army statement released Sunday.
According to the statement, one of the passengers in the vehicle was wearing an explosive belt and two of the occupants were identified as wanted fugitives.
Citing an army source, the report said that MSC member, Sheikh Hussam Ghali, who is also the general-coordinator of Lebanon’s Islamic Medical Association, was among those detained by the security officers.
The five were reportedly traveling to the outskirts of Arsal in a bid to meet with the captors of the 25 Lebanese army officers who were taken hostage back in August.
Among other weaponry discovered inside the vehicle and confiscated by the army were two hand grenades, three rifles, four handguns and ammunition.
According to the report, the MSC, which is an assembly of Salafist sheikhs, brokered a ceasefire that halted five days of clashes between the army and Takfiri terrorist elements from the ISIL and the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front, which had overrun Arsal in August.
Following the August clashes, the terrorists eventually withdrew from the town but took hostage more than 30 Lebanese army officers and Internal Security Forces personnel.
The MSC announced last week that it wanted to be in charge of mediation efforts with the Takfiri captors, but that it would only do so if it was formally commissioned by the Lebanese government to be in charge of the negotiations.
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