Lebanese army arrests senior members of Fattah al-Islam

BEIRUT, Nov. 10 – The Lebanese army arrested most of the key figures of Fattah al-Islam in the Palestinian refugee camp of Baddawi in north Lebanon, local As-Safier daily reported Monday. Sheikh Hamza Kassed, 37 years old, a senior figure of Fattah al-Islam was turned over to the Lebanese army Sunday night by Palestinian authorities in the camp. Two more members, Khalid Jaber and Nader al-Ali, were arrested as well.

Khalid al-Itter, who was mentioned during the televised confessions of Fattah al-Islam group in Syria, was arrested in Tripoli on Saturday by the Lebanese security.

The Syrian official TV last Wednesday aired confessions of several Fattah al-Islam members who allegedly carried out the car bomb attack last September in Damascus which killed 17 people.

Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Seniora and majority leaders criticized Syria for broadcasting testimonies of terrorist members on its official television, instead of tackling it through proper channels with Lebanon.

The report said the arrest is the first sign that the Lebanese army considers at least some of the information in the televised confessions “reliable” following condemnation about their validity by pro-government leaders in Beirut.

Fattah al-Islam was engaged in 15-week fierce clashes with the Lebanese army in 2007 at the Palestinian refugee camp of Naher al-Barid. So far, 400 people have been killed, including 168 soldiers.

The group also carried out car bomb attacks against the Lebanese army in north Lebanon.

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