BEIRUT (Reuters) – A Lebanese military investigative judge charged 11 suspected al Qaeda militants on Wednesday with planning to commit crimes against Lebanese authorities and spying on the Lebanese army and U.N. peacekeepers.
Judge Samih al-Haj indicted the group of Lebanese, Palestinians and Syrians, six of whom have fled Lebanon and the rest have been detained, on charges that carry a death penalty.
The indictment said the men had “formed an armed gang with the purpose of committing crimes against people … undermining state authority and prestige, spying on the military and U.N. peacekeepers, and forging passports”.
Among the accused is a fugitive leader of Fatah al-Islam, the Qaeda-inspired group that battled the Lebanese army in a Palestinian refugee camp in northern Lebanon in 2007.
Another suspect was accused of carrying out a bomb attack that killed 15 people, including 10 soldiers, in the northern city of Tripoli in 2008.