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Lebanese army arrests clan member involved in kidnapping - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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BEIRUT, (Reuters) – Lebanon’s army said on Saturday its forces raided a southern district of Beirut and arrested a member of a powerful Shi’ite Muslim clan which claims responsibility for the kidnapping of 20 Syrians and a Turkish businessman.

“Army forces carried out a raid to execute arrest warrants against individuals that were linked to kidnappings … The army arrested a number of wanted, including Hassan Meqdad,” an army statement said, without mentioning the kidnapped.

The Meqdad clan abducted the men on Aug. 15 in what they said was a response to the capture of one of their kinsmen in Damascus by the Free Syrian Army, the armed wing of a revolt which aims to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The kidnappings have reinforced fears that the Syria conflict could trigger more instability in a much smaller neighbour where Damascus has had a major influence for decades.

The Meqdads are one of many armed groups in Lebanon which continue to exert power. The northern port city of Tripoli has seen sporadic clashes between Assad’s supporters and his foes.

“The (army) continues its search for a number of culprits who fled to various Lebanese regions and plans to maintain its work for the release of all hostages,” the statement said, adding large quantities of weapons and ammunition were seized during the raid on the Rweiss district of Beirut.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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