Lebanon's army 'foils Israeli attack cell'

Date: 06-13-06

BEIRUT (AFP) - The Lebanese army said it had dismantled a network used by the Israeli spy agency Mossad to carry out attacks in Lebanon, mainly against Hezbollah and pro-Syrian Palestinian groups.

"The army arrested a terrorist cell working for Israel's Mossad, and its members admitted responsibility for the May 26 attack that killed Mahmud al-Majzub and his brother," the army statement said.

Majzub, one of the leaders in Lebanon of the radical Palestinian Islamic Jihad group, was killed by a car bomb in the southern city of Sidon.

The members of the cell also "admitted taking part in the assassination of Hezbollah officials Ali Saleh in 2003 and Ali Hassan Dib in 1999, as well as the killing of Jihad Jibril in 2002," the army added.

Jibril's father, Ahmed, is the Damascus-based chief of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command.

"The cell would appear to have had ties with Israel for several years, and its members were trained there," the statement said.

"It would also seem that in the bombing that killed the Majzub brothers, the cell brought a booby-trapped door from Israel for the car used in the attack."

The army said it had seized the detonator that set off the device, as a well as explosives and electronic materials.

Hassan Nasrallah, head of the militant Islamist Hezbollah, had said Ali Saleh, whose killing the army blamed on the cell, was in charge of coordinating with Palestinian groups.

Mahmud al-Majzub had been responsible for operations "inside" the Palestinian territories, according to Lebanese security sources.

His killing sparked an escalating series of tit-for-tat cross-border exchanges between Israel and Lebanon that included rockets fired into the Jewish state and retaliatory air strikes on militant camps inside Lebanon.


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