Man held over foiled Beirut attack

The Lebanese army has arrested a man suspected of being the mastermind behind a foiled bomb attack on the US embassy in Beirut.

    Beirut's US embassy is heavily fortified against attack

    Lebanon said it prevented an attack on the heavily-fortified

    US complex on Wednesday, arresting a Lebanese man at the

    embassy gates who tried to enter with a bomb

    concealed in a sports bag.

    His Palestinian companion was also

    arrested.

    A security source told Aljazeera that the suspected ringleader, a

    Lebanese man called Mahdi al-Hajj Hasan, was under investigation over the explosion.

    Ringleader
     
    Another source told Reuters news agency that the man

    was arrested on Friday after authorities obtained

    his name from questioning the two men already in custody.

    "He is supposed to be the leader, the one who sent the

    people to the US embassy," the source said.

    He added that charges could be filed as early as Monday.

    Anti-US attacks were common
    during Lebanon's civil war

    Earlier this week Lebanon charged 10 people with "terrorist"

    links over a string of bombings against American fast food

    outlets over the past two years and a plot to kill US

    ambassador Vincent Battle.

    Anti-western attacks

    Some of those arrested are alleged to be linked to Usama

    bin Laden's al-Qaida network.

    Lebanon was the scene of dozens of anti-US attacks in the

    1980s with bombings against the US embassy, its annex,

    and the main Marine barracks in which hundreds were killed.

    Several US nationals and other Westerners were also kidnapped.

    The attacks abated after the end of the 1975-1990 Lebanese

    civil war. But a series of much smaller attacks have targeted

    mainly US and British interests since the eruption of the

    Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation,

    and the US-led war on Iraq.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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