Police detain 17 in Beirut hotel raid over alleged "terror" plot
Published Friday, June 20, 2014
Updated 5:38 pm: Lebanese security forces detained over 100 people after raiding two hotels in Beirut Friday working on a tip of a possible terror plot, but most were later released.
Security sources told Al-Akhbar that 17 people of Lebanese, Saudi, Syrian, Moroccan and Egyptian nationalities remain in custody.
The sources said that the detained individuals were arrested on the basis of information received by multiple security branches over a plot to carry out suicide attacks on Friday.
"One of the [alleged] suicide bombers is a Saudi," one source said, adding that 15 of the suspects were arrested from the Napoleon hotel in Beirut's Hamra district, while the other two were arrested as a nearby hotel.
The sources said that investigators are examining the documents and computers belonging to the 17 detainees to determine what, if any, connection they have to an alleged terror plot.
"So far, we can not talk about a terrorist cell at the hotel," one source said.
The sources said that there is no direct link between what happened in the hotel and the rumors about the possible terrorist attack on an Amal movement celebration in the UNESCO Palace.
Hundreds of police and army soldier were seen deployed around Hamra around the time of the raid on Makdisi street, which began around 8:30 am.
Several roads in Beirut were shut down on Friday after the raid, including those leading to the neighborhoods of Bir Hassan, Ain Teeneh, UNESCO and the airport road.
Areas near army barracks in Ashrafieh, the Kuwaiti embassy and the military hospital in Badaro were also blocked.
The raid took place shortly before a suicide bomber blew himself up at a security checkpoints in eastern Lebanon, killing at least one person and injuring dozens of others.
It remained unclear if the two events were related.