Friday, June 15, 2007

Fatah al-Islam planned to assassinate Siniora, Jumblatt

Fatah al-Islam planned to assassinate Siniora, Jumblatt
Senior member outlines plot in interview

Daily Star staff

BEIRUT: A Fatah al-Islam leader said the militant group had planned to assassinate a number of Lebanese figures, including Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt. In a telephone interview with Ash-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper published Wednesday, Abu Musaab, a 30-year-old Palestinian, said one of Fatah al-Islam's plans was to assassinate Lebanese officials using booby-trapped motorcycles and explosive charges, should the group be challenged by the government. Speaking from his hideout in the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp in North Lebanon, Abu Musaab said 25 Saudi nationals had been enlisted in different spots inside and outside the camp. As soon as the fighting broke out with the Lebanese Army in the North, hundreds of military-trained men started to appear in the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp, said Abu Musaab. "Some 350 militants whom I have never seen before emerged in the camp soon after the fighting with the Lebanese Army erupted," Abu Musaab said. The Lebanese Army and Fatah al-Islam militants have been engaged in fierce battles at the Nahr al-Bared camp near Tripoli since May 20.

The Fatah al-Islam official also said the group was being provided with "tremendous" military equipment and millions of dollars, although he did not specify the source of the support. "The Internet is the most successful means to enlist great numbers of youths from different Arab and Islamic countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, Yemen, Algeria, Morocco and Syria," Abu Musaab said. "My job consists of enlisting new members under the pretext of training them to fight in Iraq." Abu Musaab said Fatah al-Islam had exploited religious slogans to mobilize new fighters. "We have called for Jihad in Iraq and fighting the Jews and the United Sates, in order to attract new militants," he said. Abu Musaab added Saudi national Shahine Shahine had taken command of the group after the disappearance of its commander Shaker al-Abssi and his deputy Abu Hureira. Abu Musaab said he was the one to approve all of Abssi's statements delivered via media outlets, because he is responsible for the group's finances. "Shahine, nicknamed Abu Salma, is also a Fatah al-Islam spokesman and military official," Abu Musaab said. "Shahine came from Morocco," he added. "He is surrounded by four veiled Saudis and Yemenis. He is the one charged with linking Fatah al-Islam to Al-Qaeda." - The Daily Star

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