Army Arrests Top Abdullah Azzam Brigades Official, Defuses Car Bomb in Beirut

Military experts defused on Wednesday a car bomb in Beirut after the army announced the arrest of a Palestinian leader in the Qaida-linked Abdullah Azzam Brigades, described as the group's number two man in Lebanon.

And later on Wednesday, media reports said the "suicide bomber" who was supposed to blow up the car was also arrested by security forces.

A communique said following careful follow-up and monitoring after he came out of the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain el-Hilweh near Sidon in the South, the army intelligence in Beirut made the arrest of Naim Abbas, who is being questioned under the supervision of the judiciary.

Following his arrest, Abbas admitted to plotting to blow up a car, the communique said.

So the military defused around 100 kilograms of explosives, several rockets and explosives belts placed in a black SUV that was parked in Corniche al-Mazraa neighborhood, where he was arrested.

Photos showed the explosives carefully placed in the seats of the Toyota Rav 4 in small packs.

The state-run National News Agency said the suspect was planning to use the car in a bombing in Beirut's southern suburbs.

The army also seized laptops and other electronic devices during a raid on a warehouse in Corniche al-Mazraa, reports said.

The raid and the process to defuse the car bomb brought traffic to a standstill for several hours after soldiers blocked the main road in both directions, they said.

According to the communique, the army was carrying out raids in several areas after Abbas informed it about the locations of other booby-trapped vehicles.

Later on Wednesday, MTV said "the supposed suicide bomber Mohammed Mahmoud was arrested at Naim Abbas' house in Corniche al-Mazraa."

LBCI TV also confirmed that "the suicide bomber who was supposed to carry out an attack with the Corniche al-Mazraa car was among those arrested along with Naim Abbas."

Abbas has close ties to Sheikh Omar al-Atrash, a cleric from the Bekaa Valley who was arrested last month, and later charged with detonating bombs and explosive-rigged vehicles, attacking the army in Majdelyoun and al-Awwali bridge areas in the southern city of Sidon and launching rockets on Israel.

In a related development, the military prosecutor charged on Wednesday Ali Hussein al-Hujairi for links with al-Atrash and for belonging to a terrorist organization.

Judge Saqr Saqr referred al-Hujairi, who was also arrested last month, to the first military examining magistrate Nabil Wehbe.

Several of the latest bombings in Hizbullah strongholds in Beirut's southern suburbs and the Bekaa have been claimed by the Abdullah Azzam Brigades whose leader, Majed al-Majed, was captured by Lebanese authorities in December and died in custody later.

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