Thirty-five men have been charged for plotting terrorist attacks against Lebanese, Italian and Ukrainian interests by a military prosecuter in Beirut.
The men are alleged to have ties to Al-Qaeda and were planning large scale attacks within the country. Of the thirty-five men charged, only 10 were
accounted for, 9 in custody and 1 who died while in police custody just last week.
But only nine of the 35 defendants are in police custody, the officials said on condition of anonymity. The remaining suspects, including Lebanese,
Saudis, Palestinians and Syrians, remain at large.
Lebanese police, in cooperation with Italian intelligence authorities, arrested 10 Lebanese men on Sept. 17 over alleged plots to bomb the Italian and
Ukrainian diplomatic missions in Beirut, assassinate Western diplomats and attack Lebanese security facilities.
One of the 10 detainees, Ismail Mohammed al-Khatib, died in custody last week from what police said was a heart attack. Thousands of al-Khatib
supporters denounced Lebanese authorities, plus the United States and Israel, following his death.
Beirut military court judge Jean Fahd issued an indictment sheet Wednesday laying out the charges and accusations against the 35 suspects, which was
also published in Lebanese newspapers.
Of the 26 suspects at large, four are Saudis, five Palestinians and three Syrians. The remainder are either Lebanese citizens or people whose
nationalities are unknown.
Fahd accused the suspects of obtaining weapons and explosives to "carry out terrorist acts ... (by) targeting some foreign interests and security
centers, including the Italian embassy in Beirut and Ukrainian consulate," plus local security targets.
The judge claimed that the suspects intended to use car bombs and other explosives to carry out the attacks.
Among the nine Lebanese men in custody is Ahmed Salim Mikati, who Lebanese officials have described as a mastermind of the plots and one of Lebanon's
most dangerous criminals, who was allegedly trying to establish al-Qaida cells in the country.
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Can you imagine the panic and the terror alerts if this type of incident were to happen here in the U.S. or any other western country now?