Lebanon arrests commander of Al Qaeda-linked group

Beirut, Jan 16: The Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) arrested a commander of an Al Qaeda-linked terrorist group Wednesday during a raid in western Bekaa region, which also left one person dead, according to a statement by the army.

The Lebanese Intelligence Directorate arrested Jamal Dafterdar, the commander of Abdullah Azzam Brigades after a raid on his whereabouts in a western Bekaa village, Xinhua quoted the army as saying.

The statement added that “a gunman attacked the LAF with a hand grenade during the operation, prompting the army to shoot him dead”.

The raid was conducted following a tip-off from an investigation into an attack against Lebanese army checkpoints in southern city of Sidon Dec 15, which left one soldier dead.

On Dec 26, the Lebanese army arrested Majed Al-Majed, who was suspected of heading the Abdullah Azzam Brigades. The detainee later died in a military hospital in Beirut Jan 4.

The Abdullah Azzam Brigades, formed in 2009 and based in Lebanon, is an offshoot of the Al Qaeda in Iraq group and was designated as a terrorist organisation by the US in 2012. The group has claimed responsibility for the deadly attack on the Iranian embassy in Beirut last year which killed over 20 people.