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Jihadist commander arrested — Lebanon army

By AFP - Jan 15,2014 - Last updated at Jan 15,2014

BEIRUT — Lebanon’s army on Wednesday announced the arrest of a commander loyal to Al Qaeda, adding he was involved in an attack against the military last month.

“The army intelligence command successfully arrested at dawn today [Wednesday] a commander of the Abdallah Azzam Brigades, the wanted terrorist Jamal Daftardar, in a raid... in a village in the western Bekaa valley,” an army statement said.

The military also said another group member, “who threatened to launch a hand grenade, was fired on and died on the spot”.

The statement said the Daftardar’s whereabouts were discovered in the course of an investigation “into the attack by a terrorist group against an army checkpoint in Sidon [southern Lebanon] on December 15”.

Twin attacks, one by a suicide bomber, targeted two army checkpoints in Sidon, southern Lebanon’s main city, killing an army officer.

An ensuing firefight killed four attackers.

Daftardar was born in Tripoli, a majority Sunni city in northern Lebanon that sees frequent sectarian fighting related to the war in neighbouring Syria.

He is accused by the Lebanese judicial authorities of membership to “a gang whose aim is to commit crimes against people and financial interests, and to undermine the state’s authority”.

Daftardar is also accused of “possession of weapons and transporting explosive material, with a view to staging terrorist attacks”, according to the text of an indictment issued in May 2008.

Daftardar was among dozens of people who had arrest warrants issued against them after a 2007 battle pitted Islamists loyal to the radical Fatah Al Islam group against Lebanon’s army in Nahr Al Bared, in the north of the country.

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