Lebanon detains wanted Islamist

BEIRUT, Jan 8, 2010 (AFP) - Lebanese authorities have arrested a man suspected of being a key operative in an Al-Qaeda-inspired militant group, an army spokesman said on Friday.

"We arrested a big fish in a raid in Beirut late on Thursday, and that's all I can say," the spokesman told AFP asking not to be identified.

Lebanese media reported that the man arrested was suspected of being a leading figure in the Fatah al-Islam group and of plotting future attacks.

A security official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said the man was a Palestinian from one of Lebanon's 12 refugee camps.

"The suspect was on the state's wanted list and is a member of Fatah al-Islam," the Arabic-language daily An-Nahar said.

It added that the suspect had been implicated in previous attacks.

Newspapers said the army had seized equipment during the raid on a home in Beirut.

In 2007, fought fierce battles with the Lebanese army at the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in northern Lebanon.

The fighting killed 400 people, including 168 soldiers, and displaced some 30,000 refugees from the camp, which was levelled in the fighting.

Fatah al-Islam has also been linked to deadly bombings targeting UN peacekeepers in the south and civilian buses.

By longstanding convention, the army does not enter Lebanon's impoverished refugee camps, home to an estimated 250,000 Palestinians.

Source: AFP

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