Lebanon says arrests Syrian-born preacher

Bakri fled Tripoli last month after security forces raided homes of several figures suspected of involvement in the fighting.

Lebanon says arrests Syrian-born preacher

World Bulletin/News Desk

Lebanese security forces arrested an influential Syrian-born cleric on Sunday who went into hiding last month after a crackdown in the northern city of Tripoli to end sectarian violence fuelled by civil war in neighbouring Syria.

Omar Bakri founded outlawed British group Al Muhajiroun and was banished from Britain to Lebanon in 2005.

He sought refuge in the mainly Sunni city of Tripoli where he was popular among young Sunni Muslims.

"In the early hours of the morning we have arrested Omar Bakri from where he was hiding in Aley," Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk said at a conference.

Divisions among Lebanese factions were worsened by Syria's civil war and the coastal city of Tripoli where pockets of minorities live including Alawites, has seen the worst spillover of violence.

Dozens of people were killed in months of on-and-off street fighting between Sunnis and Alawites, an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam to which Syrian President Bashar al-Assad belongs.

Bakri fled Tripoli last month after security forces raided homes of several figures suspected of involvement in the fighting.

A security source said he was arrested in a furnished apartment he had moved to few days earlier in the mainly Druze city of Aley, in the mountains southeast of Beirut.

The conflict in Syria began as peaceful protests against Assad's rule but turned to armed struggle due to his forces heavy crackdown. At least 160,000 people have been killed and millions have fled.

Last Mod: 25 Mayıs 2014, 16:42
Add Comment