lunes, 16 de julio de 2012

Tawfiq Taha, al-Qaeda’s agent in Lebanon may be “holed up” in refugee camp

The Elite of Al-Qaeda in Lebanon - Munir Maqda with cellular phone at right, Ahmad as-Saavi, with Kalashnikov rifle at left, in Ain-al-Hilwe refugee camp.

According to the - Tawfiq Taha, al-Qaida’s top operative in Lebanon is reportedly holed up in Ain al-Hilweh, the Palestinian refugee camp located near Sidon, where he is being assisted by Islamic militants. The Lebanese Army beefed up its presence around Ain al-Hilweh Monday and enacted stringent security measures, prompting protests by Palestinian residents who complained of having their freedom of movement severely limited.

The security source who spoke to The Daily Star said Taha, who was a deputy to Abdel-Rahman Mohammad Awad, “masterminded” the attacks of recent years against U.N. peacekeepers and the Lebanese Army in south Lebanon.

Awad was Al-Qaeda’s top military official in Lebanon and succeeded Shaker Absi as leader of Fatah al-Islam, an Islamic extremist group that took over the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp in north Lebanon and attacked the Lebanese Army in 2007 before being crushed. Awad was killed in a Lebanese Army ambush in the Bekaa Valley in Aug. 2011.

“Rare are the cases being examined by the Lebanese military justice regarding terrorist attacks and bombings, including those targeting UNIFIL, in which Tawfiq Taha is not the prime suspect,” the source said.

“The US should try to kill this man if they get the chance”, says Thomas Dunn, a counterterrorism expert in Charlotte, N.C. who maintains an extensive file on al-Qaeda in Lebanon.

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