Terrorist Groups In Lebanon Under Surveillance
Mohammed Choucair, Al-Hayat, 2003/05/22
Many questions are being raised about the political orientation of "terrorist groups" in Lebanon, as well as their financing and relation to Al Qaeda. They are accused of placing explosives in American fast-food restaurants and planning for attacking the American embassy in Beirut, as well as assassinating ambassador Vincent Battle and kidnapping ministers, deputies and politicians.
Although General Prosecutor Adnan Addoum denied any direct link between them and Al Qaeda or Esbat Al-Ansar, security and judicial sources have told Al-Hayat that these groups cannot be disregarded. Moreover, the absence of any direct relation does not mean that the "terrorist groups" do not imitate them with their behavior and practices, considering the fact that the master planner who was killed during a confrontation with the Lebanese army turned out to be Bassam Kanj (aka Abu Aysha), an Arab Afghan having been militarily trained in Afghanistan and finished a special session of "cultural learning" before heading towards North Lebanon.
Hence, Al Qaeda's role consisted of training the master planner of the Dinnieh group and providing him with money to buy weapons and military munitions so as to help his followers, leaving him the freedom to make his own moves, as he knows better about his territory. It was also said that Abu Mahjen, leader of Esbat Al-Ansar, has established contact, just like Bassam Kanj, with people who believe in Al-Qaeda's orientations.
Following the investigation, it turned out that the activists are between 18 and 25 years old. According to preliminary investigations, the leaders of the terrorist groups are benefiting from a financial assistance provided by an unidentified Yemenite known as Abu Al-Shahid, who is living in Ain Al-Helweh and married to a Palestinian, helping hence its supporters by buying them weapons through Esbat Al-Ansar.
The striking thing about all this is the location in which these groups carry out their practices. Orators in the Mosques of some of Akkar's villages and Bab Al-Tibbaneh, Tripoli, make their speeches before young men who visit often without abiding by the instructions of Dar Al-Fatwa that calls for moderation and the refusal of extremism, knowing that the orators are, in one way or another, part of radical organizations that focus on poor regions with high density of population, to take advantage of their ignorance and naivety. Security services representatives assert that none of those who visit these Mosques has participated in the explosions.
They also assure that all the groups having been arrested are small, and might cooperate with each other to attain their common goals, without however belonging to the same central organization. As for Esbat Al-Ansar, one of the security bodies leader asserted to Al-Hayat that its main task consisted of training and providing weapons and explosives, not to mention the fact that it lodges wanted and outlaw people who escape to the camp of Ain Al-Helweh. A Lebanese security source also pointed at an extremely dangerous terrorist group in a Palestinian camp in the North, which is being exposed to high surveillance, thus limiting its actions.
Other groups are being located in several camps, and the security bodies say they have been able to arrest most of their members.