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Sharkas Threatens to Retaliate Arrest of Family, Suspends Negotiations over Arsal Captives

Jihadist Anas Sharkas, aka Abu Ali al-Shishani, threatened to start kidnapping the wives and children of soldiers until the Lebanese authorities release his spouse and two kids, announcing the suspension of negotiations in the case of the abducted servicemen.

“Negotiations will not continue until the Muslim women are freed from the prisons of infidels,” Sharkas reportedly said in a 13-minute YouTube video.

He stressed that the Qatari-appointed negotiator, Ahmed al-Khatib, is not welcomed on the outskirts of the northeastern border town of Arsal.

It is unclear if Sharkas is a prominent leader in the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or al-Qaida-affiliate al-Nusra Front.

Al-Shishani vowed to retaliate the arrest of his wife and two children, saying: “I will act soon, me and all my supporters to capture the wives and kids of raafidah and soldiers.... until my wife, kids and the women of Muslims are released from the prisons of infidels.”

Sharkas, who had his face uncovered in the video, was surrounded by masked gunmen.

He stressed that the abducted soldiers and policemen will not be released without negotiations and his family will not be part of any deal.

“My message is for the Qatari mediator: If you can't resolve the matter, then you are not welcomed and I will not allow you to head to the outskirts.”

Sharkas also held Muslim Scholars Committee chief Sheikh Salem al-Rafehi responsible for his family's arrest.

The Lebanese soldiers and policemen were taken captive in August when militants from the extremist Islamic State group and al-Nusra Front infiltrated Arsal from Syria and engaged in bloody clashes with troops. Three of them have been so far executed.

Media reports said that Lebanon now has the upper hand in the negotiations with the jihadists after the Lebanese army arrested Saja al-Dulaimi, a divorcee of IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and the family of Sharkas.

The government has been under intense pressure from the families of the captured men to negotiate their release.

As Safir newspaper reported on Friday the arrest of Alaa al-Oqaili, the wife of Sharkas, her brother Rakan and her two kids confused extremists.

Oqaili, who was arrested two months after her surveillance, reportedly communicates with her husband and other gunmen through Skype.

She was apprehended along with her brother Rakan in the Zgharta area of Hilan in northern Lebanon at a public school hosting Syrian refugees.

As Safir reported that Sharkas contacted a prominent Muslim Scholars official, threatening to retaliate if any harm was inflicted on his family.

H.K.

G.K.


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