Lebanese official says Azzam Brigades plotted to kill parliament head

BEIRUT – Lebanon`s militant Abdullah Azzam Brigades had plotted to assassinate Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, a security official said Friday.

The official told Anadolu Agency that Mahmoud Abu Alfa, a detained brigades member, had revealed during questioning that the group had a plan to assassinate Berri.

Azzam Brigades operatives wanted to retaliate against Berri, a Shiite, for the latter`s perceived support for the Syrian regime and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah, the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AA.

The official said that security forces had observed "suspicious movements" four months ago near parliament headquarters in Beirut by people who had turned out to be brigades members.

According to the official, Abu Alfa said during questioning that he had been assigned by the brigades` leadership to plot Berri`s death via a "suicide operation" targeting Lebanon`s parliament.

Lebanon has seen a total of ten bombings since last August, most of which have targeted Hezbollah strongholds.

Hezbollah`s involvement in the Syrian conflict next door has drawn condemnation from Sunni-Muslim quarters –both inside and outside Lebanon.

In December, Lebanese authorities arrested brigades leader Majid al-Majid, who later died in police custody.

And last month, Lebanese security forces arrested high-profile target Omar al-Atrash, said to have links with the Abdullah Azzam Brigades and other Al-Qaeda-affiliated groups, including the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant and Syria`s Al-Nusra Front.

By Hamze Takeen

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