The Hamra area in Beirut was the scene of a major crackdown over a suspected terror plot on Friday, with security forces arresting 102 people at a number of hotels, among whom only 17 remain in custody.
“Security forces arrested 102 people during the raids that were carried out today in the Hamra area and its surroundings, after obtaining information about the presence of terrorist groups plotting to stage security acts in Beirut,” state-run National News Agency reported.
“Following interrogation, 85 people were released while 17 were kept in custody,” NNA said in the afternoon.
Earlier, the agency said raids were ongoing in Hamra and nearby areas, adding that “around 30 detained suspects had entered Lebanon using passports issued by Arab countries.”
“These terrorist groups were plotting to carry out a major terrorist act against a ceremony that was scheduled to be held before noon at the UNESCO Palace” in Beirut, NNA said.
The suspects intended to head to the ceremony's location “in an unconventional manner, on foot or through using transportation means that do not raise suspicions,” the agency added.
Earlier on Friday, AMAL Movement decided to postpone a conference at the UNESCO Palace after receiving security warnings and following contacts with Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq. Speaker Nabih Berri was supposed to attend the conference.
In the afternoon, Mashnouq told al-Jadeed that “most of the hotel guests who were arrested in the morning in Hamra have been freed."
Meanwhile, the Internal Security Forces issued a statement saying security forces had "obtained information that a terrorist group was plotting to stage bombings in the city of Beirut and other Lebanese areas.”
Consequently, “a joint force from the (ISF) Intelligence Bureau and the General Directorate of General Security raided a hotel in the Hamra area after suspecting that a number of dangerous individuals were in it,” the ISF said.
“After carefully checking the identities of the hotel guests, 17 people of various nationalities were brought to the ISF Intelligence Bureau where their legal status will be scrutinized,” the ISF added.
Media reports said the raid targeted Napoleon Hotel. A strict security cordon was imposed in the area.
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