Officials: Conversations Intercepted between Arsal Militants, Tripoli Islamists and Roumieh Inmatesإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Lebanese authorities have intercepted telephone conversations between the leaders of militants who captured Arsal, a town in northeastern Lebanon, over the weekend and inmates at Roumieh prison, security officials said.
The officials, who were not identified, told As Safir daily published on Thursday that the phone calls also involved some Islamists in the northern city of Tripoli and the Ain el-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp near the southern city of Sidon.
Ain el-Hilweh is known to harbor extremists while many Islamists are imprisoned in Roumieh.
The officials identified two suspects with their initials as R.M. and A.M., saying they ran some operations in Arsal and Tripoli.
Most of the gunmen, who overran Arsal over the weekend after the arrest of al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front member Imad Jomaa, began moving toward Syria on Wednesday as a new 24-hour cease-fire was announced.
According to As Safir, around 2,000 terrorists had entered Arsal and that Abou Talal, the deputy of Jomaa, is negotiating on behalf of the fighters.
Scores of Lebanese soldiers were killed and injured in the five days of clashes.
In a sign of the conflict spreading further into Lebanon, Tripoli witnessed in the past few days attacks on the Lebanese army, sniper fire and an explosion.
Like Arsal, Tripoli is predominantly Sunni and many residents back the overwhelmingly Sunni rebels in Syria trying to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad.