Beirut – Six members of the military were wounded on Friday when an ISIS militant blew himself against a Lebanese army patrol while trying to evade capture.
Bilal Ibrahim Breidy blew himself in the northeastern border town of Arsal, lightly wounding some of the military intelligence members, said an army statement.
Breidy was one of the suspects linked to the twin bombings that targeted the Christian majority town of Ras Baalbek in the Bekaa near the Syrian border two days ago.
The Army Command had announced that “less than 24 hours after the Ras Baalbek bombing and the dismantling of a third explosive, the intelligence directorate managed to arrest ISIS member Hussein al-Hassan, who hails from Arsal and who confessed to taking part in the attack.”
Lebanon’s Higher Defense Council meanwhile imposed a number of measures aimed at bolstering security and stability during the holy month of Ramadan and throughout the summer season. These measures will encompass the Rafik Hariri International Airport, mosques and places of worship, They will also cover certain “security hot spots” in the country.
The Council deemed these measures as “preemptive security” that are aimed at averting any breach and keeping the country safe from regional unrest.
The Council made its decisions after a meeting it held at the presidential palace on Friday afternoon. It was chaired by President Michel Aoun and attended by Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil, Defense Minister Yaacoub al-Sarraf, Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil, Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq, Justice Minister Salim Jreissati, Public Works and Transportation Minister Youssef Finianos and Tourism Minister Avedis Guidanian. General Prosecutor Judge Samir Hammoud, State Commissioner to the Military Court Jude Saqr Saqr, Army Commander General Joseph Aoun, Internal Security Forces chief Imad Othman, General Security chief Abbas Ibrahim, State Security chief Antoine Saliba, Higher Council of Customs chief Asaad Tufaili and a number of officers and security officials were also present.
Aoun hailed at the beginning of the meeting “the security agencies’ performance in carrying out preemptive military and security operations to counter terrorism in all of its forms.”
The decisions of the Council remained secret, but sources from the gatherers revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that “there are reasons that called for holding this meeting at the beginning of Ramadan and the tourism season.”
They noted that this was first time the Higher Defense Council convenes since the appointment of Army Commander Joseph Aoun and a number of heads of security agencies to their posts.
“It was necessary for the exchange of information between all security agencies, especially in wake of the army operations against terrorist groups along the eastern border. The agencies succeeded in arresting members of security cells that are active in the country,” they explained.
Strict security measures have been imposed at all tourism areas in Lebanon, most notably after the arrest of a terrorist cell that confessed to plotting to bomb Casino du Liban and a number of nightclubs.
These measures will be heightened in the summer.
A security source that was present at the Higher Defense Council meeting told Asharq Al-Awsat: “The meeting was not based on worrying security information.”
It instead said that the security situation in Lebanon was calm.