Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq said on Saturday, the latest accomplishments of the security forces in uncovering terror cells that had plans to carry attacks during the holiday season, called for utmost vigilance which in turn led to uncovering the terror-cell in Tripoli and other groups.
The Minister hailed, in an interview to VDL (93.3), “the serious endeavors and big work of the security forces and army troops in confronting terror attacks,” giving the larger “credit to the Intelligence Directorate.”
He added: “Preemptive security measures succeeded in obstructing terror assaults that aimed to shake the security situation in Lebanon similar to what happened in Brussels and France.”
Recently, a terrorist cell loyal to fugitive militant Shadi al-Mawlawi and the jihadist al-Nusra Front group was arrested after planning to stage terrorist acts on New Year’s Eve.
Mawlawi, who is believed to be hiding in the Ain el-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp, had ordered the cell to “send bomb-laden cars to Beirut’s suburbs and assassinate civilians and incumbent and retired army officers,” according to an army a statement Tuesday.
State Commissioner to Military Court Judge Saqr Saqr charged 15 people loyal to Mawlawi and Nusra — including 11 detainees – with “plotting to stage terrorist acts on New Year’s Eve; blow up booby-trapped cars in Beirut, Tripoli and Dahiyeh; assassinating incumbent and retired officers; and targeting civilian gatherings,” NNA said.
Separately, Mashnouq said President Michel Aoun’s first trip abroad that will begin in Saudi Arabia carries “positive signals” because “openness to Saudi Arabia is bound to lead to positive outcome including the Saudi grant to the Lebanese army,” that was halted in 2015.
“The reasons for the relations detachment with Saudi Arabia are over now,” said the Minister, and added that “assaults against SA after the Yemen war began from Lebanon through Hizbullah and its allies, and continued in Iran.”
Aoun is scheduled to visit Saudi Arabia and Qatar next week in his first foreign trip abroad to discuss bilateral relations between the countries, in addition to the situation in the region.
He will visit Saudi Arabia on Monday and Tuesday, Qatar on Wednesday and Thursday.