Warrant Issued against al-Asir over Sleeper Cells, Assassination Plots

A military judge issued on Tuesday an arrest warrant against Ahmed al-Asir for forming sleeper cells and plotting the assassination of known figures, the state-run National News Agency reported.

NNA said Judge Najat Abu Shakra issued the warrant after questioning the Salafist sheikh.

The charges include forming the sleeper cells in the southern city of Sidon and its different neighborhoods, in addition to plotting the murder of religious, political and military personalities, the agency added.

Last month, an arrest warrant was issued against al-Asir on charges of funding extremist cleric Sheikh Khaled Hoblos and offering his group logistical and arms support.

Al-Asir was arrested in August 15 at Beirut's Rafik Hariri International Airport while trying to flee to Nigeria via Cairo with a fake Palestinian passport.

The firebrand anti-Hizbullah cleric had been on the run since June 2013 after his armed supporters clashed with the Lebanese army in Sidon's suburb of Abra. The fighting killed 18 Lebanese soldiers.

Last year, a military judge recommended prosecutors seek death sentences for Asir and 53 others, including singer-turned-fundamentalist Fadel Shaker.

He and his associates were accused of "having formed armed groups that attacked an institution of the state, the army, killed officers and soldiers, took explosive materials and light and heavy weapons and used them against the army."



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