BEIRUT – On Monday, Lebanese security forces arrested an Islamic State (ISIS) recruit who was plotting a string of terror attacks on a number of Christian and Shi’ite religious sites in Southern Lebanon.
The suspect, a 20-year-old Syrian national living in the Southern Lebanese village of Yater, was tracked and arrested by the Lebanese Internal Security Forces (ISF) after authorities tracked down the location of a man who published ISIS propaganda on social media.
The man, identified as Z.M. in reports, had visited many websites for the terror group, also having accessed and consulted sources that gave instructions on making bombs.
Of the content also shared by the suspect included an April video of the terror group’s leader, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, congratulating the Easter Sunday Sri Lankan terror attacks, which killed over 250 worshippers.
The statement, cited by English-langugage Lebanese daily “The Daily Star,” said that the individual had also recruited a 29-year-old individual identified as S.B., also a Syrian national.
The ISF investigations also revealed that Z.M. had communicated to others outside of Lebanon, working together to publish more online propaganda for the terror group.
The suspect also leveraged these communications on a number of websites to plan attacks against churches and Shi’ite mosques.
The village had seen incidents of pro-ISIS propaganda spray painted on walls. It is believed the graffiti is linked to the suspect.
This is the second ISIL terror incident Lebanon faces after a relatively long streak of silence from threats or incidents from the terror group.
On June 4th, a former ISIS member killed two police and two Lebanese soldiers before detonating an explosive belt in a shootout in Tripoli, a city in northern Lebanon.
J.S. Kassem, is Beirut-based freelance writer