Shadi Mawlawi Acting as Suicide Bombers’ Godfather in Ain al-Hilweh Camp

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Islamist Shadi al-Mawlawi is welcomed by comrades and relatives after his release in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli. AFP

Published Friday, January 16, 2015

Shadi Mawlawi has not repented for his previous crimes. The “mediation” that led to his release from prison in 2012 has only increased his determination to expand his terrorist activities. “Abu Adam” — as he is known in Islamist circles — who operates from Ain el-Hilweh camp, today acts as coordinator between the emir of al-Nusra Front Abu Malik al-Talli and potential Lebanese suicide bombers.

The volatile security situation in Ersal has returned to the spotlight. Some 120 kilograms of explosives were found planted in a Mercedes car that was leaving the town of Ersal in the direction of the town of Labweh. The car accidentally skidded near an army checkpoint at the western entrance to Ersal, prompting the driver to leave the car and flee from the scene. The army had circulated the details of the car after receiving information that it may be rigged with explosives to be used in a terrorist act.

Army soldiers cordoned off the area, and the car was found to contain explosives. Until last night, the results of the investigations on the car had not been made public. According to security officials, the car may have been transported outside of Ersal but not its outskirts, which are cut off by the snow.

The discovery of the car brought the town of Ersal back to the spotlight. Al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) insist on involving the town in security operations targeting civilian areas, whether in its vicinity or distant areas. The condition of the two groups is similar to that of Shadi Mawlawi, the terrorist who fled to Ain el-Hilweh camp — according to official security information — after dragging Tripoli into a battle with the army last October.

The young man was arrested by the General Security in May 2012 on suspicion of involvement with al-Qaeda. He was later released by the judiciary following a decision by the Najib Mikati government made under pressure from the Islamists in the northern city of Tripoli and cover from the Future Movement. The same happened with Mawlawi’s friend Osama Mansour, who was arrested with others by the military intelligence in Bekaa, where they were found to be in possession of weapons and explosives. Mansour was released under bail set at 300,000 Lebanese liras ($200), following secret negotiations by high-level political figures.

After his release from prison, Mawlawi returned to play a prominent role in the recruitment of young men in Tripoli, namely for al-Nusra Front, until the army resolved the issue two months ago. Recent security information indicates that Mawlawi is seeking to implicate the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp, from where he runs a quasi operations room to coordinate the recruitment of suicide bombers in order to carry out security operations in certain areas, in implementation of al-Nusra Front’s project. According to security information, Mawlawi and his partner Osama Mansour are hiding in the camp and play a key role in attracting and guiding these young men, where Mawlawi acts as a link between the emir of al-Nusra Front in Qalamoun, Abu Malik al-Talli, and potential suicide bombers. Among them are the suicide bombers Taha al-Khayal and Bilal Marayan, who carried out the suicide attack in Jabal Mohsen last Saturday, in addition to Bassam al-Naboush, Elie Warraq nicknamed “Abu Ali,” and Muhannad Abdel Qadir, who were arrested by the army. The investigations revealed that they had links to al-Mawlawi, and were preparing to carry out suicide attacks against security stations and residential areas.

Al-Akhbar learned that al-Nabush has been under surveillance by General Security. According to available information, the security services compiled a report on al-Nabush two months ago, which includes information about his preparation for suicide attacks and possession of explosive belts. Al-Nabush is known to be in continuous contact with al-Nusra Front.

Warraq, the second detainee, is a Christian man who turned to radical Islam a while ago. Security sources said that he swore allegiance to al-Nusra Front some time ago, adding that he is not the only Christian who converted to Islam and pledged allegiance to al-Nusra Front in Tripoli. Furthermore, Western intelligence personnel are reportedly monitoring a young Lebanese man who arrived to Lebanon about a month ago from a European country, and who was a Christian before turning to Salafi Islam.

Speaking on “Kalam al-Nas” (a popular talk show on LBCI), Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk revealed the presence of a link between the militant group in Ain al-Hilweh camp and the bombings in Jabal Mohsen, as well as a link between the “operations room in Roumieh prison” — which was dismantled last Monday in a raid on Building B of the prison — and Ain al-Hilweh and the Syrian city of Raqqa controlled by ISIS. Machnouk said that the terrorists will not remain holed up in the camp.

The Lebanese Army Guidance Directorate issued a statement saying that “the Intelligence Directorate foiled a plan to implement a series of suicide bombings after the two attacks in Jabal Mohsen, and arrested Bassam Hossam al-Nabush, Elie Tony Warraq (also known as Abu Ali), and Syrian national Muhannad Ali Mohammed Abdel Qader, who were preparing to carry out terrorist attacks against military locations and residential areas, carrying fake Syrian and Palestinian identity cards. The investigation revealed that the detainees are affiliated with the same group as Osama Mansour and Shadi Mawlawi, have pledged allegiance to terrorist organizations, fought in Syria, and took part in the attacks on the army and the clashes between the areas of Jabal Mohsen and Bab al-Tabbeneh.


This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.


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