Organized terror activities on the rise in Lebanon - report.
Summary: aOrganized terrorist activities in Lebanon are on the rise, according to a Western intelligence report quoted by Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) Monday. The report cites an increasing rate of terrorist-like attacks and the steady, organized infiltration of Lebanon-Syria border areas as evidence of higher susceptibility to terrorism.
BEIRUT: Organized terrorist activities in Lebanon are on the rise, according to a Western intelligence report quoted by Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) Monday. The report cites an increasing rate of terrorist-like attacks and the steady, organized infiltration of Lebanon-Syria border areas as evidence of higher susceptibility to terrorism.
The Bekaa Valley and North Lebanon have in particular witnessed a rise in terrorist-related activities and infiltration has often been facilitated by Syrian authorities, the report says.
Because of the sensitivity of Syrian border areas, such aid requires approval from the political leadership in Damascus, the report adds.
According to the report, groups suspected of being linked to or inspired by Al-Qaeda, such as Fatah al-Islam and Osbat al-Ansar, apparently have come to view Lebanon as more fertile ground since an US-led security clamp-down in Iraq and since Al-Qaeda itself declared Lebanon to be an arena for its activities.
The report adds that local Sunni militants began advocating for the radicalization of their community to counteract Hizbullah's armed strength and consolidate their domestic political standing.
Drawing funds from beyond the jurisdiction of Lebanese banks and courts, these groups have eluded efforts to estimate the amount of fiscal support available for their activities in Lebanon, although the report stressed that Lebanese security services have stepped up surveillance efforts in this regard.
Terrorism has remained a central issue in Lebanon since the summer of 2007, when the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) took on militant Islamists based in the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp near Tripoli. The three-month-long campaign claimed the lives of 170 LAF soldiers and around 220 militants, destroyed much of the camp and resulted in the exodus of thousands of camp residents.
The Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp has periodically witnessed clashes between militant Islamists and nationalist Palestinian factions within the camp and between militant Islamists and the LAF on its outskirts. Ain al-Hilweh, near the Southern city of Sidon, is the largest Palestinian camp in Lebanon, and remains at the center of a debate on the likelihood of another pitched battle between Lebanese authorities and camp-based factions.
At the end of May, the LAF foiled a would-be suicide bomber near Ain al-Hilweh, although the identity of the assailant remains unknown. In early June, a remotely detonated bomb went off near an army post in Abdeh, fueling fears of a deterioration of security and undermining stability in and around refugee camps in Lebanon.
Numerous security breaches, smaller clashes and terrorist attacks have slowed the move toward a less-fragile stability in Lebanon. Several LAF posts have been targeted by bomb attacks - not all of them successful - since the Doha deal and violence between partisans of various Lebanese parties has continued despite the resolution of an 18-month political crisis, making for an uncertain security situation in the country.
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