Beirut- Lebanese authorities announced that Rafic Hariri Airport’s security apparatus in Beirut detained two Lebanese employees of a Beirut airport service company on Friday over contacts with “terrorist groups”.
An official Lebanese source told Asharq Al-Awsat that the employees work for a private company that provides ground services for civil airplanes. He also confirmed that they have been contacting a terrorist group, which he did not specify.
Social media has circulated that the detainees have been contacting ISIS militants in Syria.
“The connection was discovered after employees at the Rafic Hariri International Airport in Beirut underwent random security checks,” the source added.
Investigations are ongoing to know whether these employees are working for the terrorist group or are planning any terrorist act, he said.
The official source said that the security of the airport and the situation are all under control.
One of the Lebanese websites has identified the two employees as “A.A and Kh. S” and pointed out that they were held following regular check over the airport’s employees. The website reported that they had connections with people in Syria, who work for ISIS, and they were handed over to the army’s Intelligence Directorate for further investigation.
The website also reported that one of the detainees raised suspicions after a weapon, which was found in his drawer at the airport. His brother was also mentioned in Rweiss bombing at Beirut’s Suburb in August 2013.
During the investigations, the detainee said that he keeps a gun in his drawer for his personal protection; especially that he works on PM shifts.
Moreover, some reported that traces of explosives were found in his car. Therefore, security sources confirmed that investigations are underway to find out whether these pieces of evidence are linked to terrorist preparations.
Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq warned in March from security and technical gaps in Beirut’s Rafic Hariri International Airport. He said he will present the airport’s equipment file to the Cabinet in order to be dealt with as soon as possible.
For his part, Public Works and Transportation Minister Ghazi Zeaiter has recently confirmed for Asharq Al-Awsat that security problems in Beirut’s airport are to be solved soon as efforts have been put to provide surveillance equipment. There is no reason for the Lebanese people to be scared, he added.