French Jihadist Expert Denied Entry to Lebanonإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Authorities have denied a French expert on jihadists entry to Lebanon and accused him of links to extremist groups, diplomatic and security sources said Tuesday.
Romain Caillet, a researcher with the French Institute for the Near East, is a specialist on jihadist movements including the Islamic State group and had been based in Lebanon for five years.
A French embassy source said Caillet was "turned away on Sunday... at Beirut airport when he tried to return from Morocco.
"No explanation of the reason for his expulsion has been provided to us," the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
A high-ranking source at the General Security said Caillet was suspected of involvement with extremists.
"Under the cover of his work, this individual was suspected of being linked with terrorist organizations," the source aid.
Caillet could not be immediately reached for comment.
But on his Twitter account Tuesday he suggested Hizbullah was responsible.
"What do they accuse me of? Daring to speak of the influence of Hizbullah and its pro-Iranian allies on all of Lebanon's institutions," he wrote.
"The murderers of researcher Michel Seurat and Rafik Hariri wanted me to leave Lebanon so my work will continue elsewhere."
Seurat, a sociologist, was kidnapped in Lebanon in 1985 and died in captivity. His abduction was claimed by the Islamic Jihad group, a branch of Hizbullah.
Five members of Hizbullah are being prosecuted by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon for the assassination of former Prime Minister Hariri, who was killed in a Beirut bomb blast in 2005.