Lebanese authorities have arrested a man suspected of being a key operative in an Al Qaeda-inspired Fatah al-Islam militant group, an army spokesman said on Friday 01/08/2010. 

“We arrested a big fish in a raid in Beirut late on Thursday, and that’s all I can say,” the spokesman told AFP asking not to be identified.

Lebanese media reported that the man arrested was suspected of being a leading figure in the Fatah al-Islam group and of plotting future attacks. A security official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said the man was a Palestinian from one of Lebanon’s 12 refugee camps. 

“The suspect was on the state’s wanted list and is a member of Fatah al-Islam,” the Arabic-language daily An-Nahar said. It added that the suspect had been implicated in previous attacks. Newspapers said the army had seized equipment during the raid on a home in Beirut. 

Fatah al-Islam has also been linked to deadly bombings targeting UN peacekeepers in the south and civilian buses (see – UN 07.21.09).  .

By long-standing convention, the army does not enter Lebanon’s impoverished refugee camps, home to an estimated 250,000 Palestinians..

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