Foiled terrorist attack on hospitals in Dahiyeh

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Members of the Internal Security Forces stop a car passing through Beirut's southern suburbs. (Photo: Marwan Tahtah)

By: Firas Choufi

Published Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Resistance and the security forces on Monday foiled a terrorist attack targeting hospitals in Dahiyeh, Beirut's southern suburbs. The operation prevented the aftershocks of the Iraqi crisis from reaching Lebanon. However, the threat does not stop at the expected tragic effects of such an act, but involved the political masterminding that took such a decision.

The strict security measures imposed by the army, security forces and Hezbollah on Dahiyeh two nights ago [Monday] are still evident, especially around the area's hospitals. Putting aside the media and internet frenzy concerning the events in the past three days, the hospitals of Dahiyeh seem to have been under serious threat, putting official security forces and Hezbollah in a state of maximum alert.

Last March, security measures at the checkpoints around Dahiyeh started to relax. This came after the fall of Yabrud – the last urban stronghold of the armed Syrian opposition – in al-Qalamoun on the Lebanese-Syrian borders, at the hands of the Syrian army and Hezbollah.

The liberation of Qalamoun went hand in hand with the strict monitoring of the illegal crossings between Syria and Lebanon's eastern regions. The logistical and human resources of the terrorist structure, responsible for the recent bombings in Dahiyeh, were uncovered for the most part. The residents of the area believed the threat of terrorism was starting to decrease following the developments on the ground in Syria.

However, observers of the remnants of groups linked to ISIS, al-Nusra Front, and Abdullah Azzam Brigades in Lebanon were keeping busy. According to a security source who spoke to Al-Akhbar, "the turnaround in the battle in Syria and the setback to the project of an Islamic state [stretching] from Qalamoun, to the outskirts of Hermel, to Tripoli, put the sleeper cells on hold in fear of being discovered, awaiting a regional opportunity to be reactivated."

Regarding the incidents of Monday night, "a terrorist operation was being prepared in the past few days," according to the security sources. "It aimed to create a big shock in Lebanon, by simultaneously bombing three hospitals" in Dahiyeh. Although the sources are reluctant to reveal the nature of the attacks and how they were uncovered, other concerned sources maintained "they were backed by Abdullah Azzam Brigades."

Lebanese security sources, on the other hand, indicated that "intersecting information between Lebanese army intelligence and Hezbollah led to uncover the plot against al-Rasoul al-Azam Hospital very early."

"The Information Branch [of the Internal Security Forces] identified a silver colored BMW X5 and two motorcycles scouting the region around al-Rasoul al-Azam Hospital," other security sources explained. "Surveillance cameras showed an unusual movement of vehicles and four people were arrested." By Tuesday evening, it was rumored that seven people had been detained, including Lebanese, Palestinians and Syrians.

"The thwarted terrorist operation [is linked] with the coup being led by Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia in Iraq," contended sources close to Hezbollah. "The operation was expected to cause a security shock inside Lebanon, as an extension of the Iraqi situation, and lead to more sectarian and confessional tensions, especially among Resistance supporters."

On another note, the sources pointed to the rumors linking the situation in Dahiyeh with Burj al-Barajneh Palestinian refugee camp, claiming its residents are responsible for the security breakdown.

Sources close to both Hezbollah and Palestinian sides responsible for the security of the camps said that "foreign intelligence elements recently drew up a plan to trigger the situation in the Palestinian camps, after failing to cause sectarian tensions in the Lebanese regions."

"This will not be the last terrorist operation. The states supporting those terrorists are still insisting on the same methods. But the eyes of the Resistance will always be open," the sources said.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

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