Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Lebanese authorities charge 10 Palestinians for planning terrorist attacks on U.N. peacekeepers

Lebanese authorities charge 10 Palestinians for planning terrorist attacks on U.N. peacekeepers
The Associated Press Published: October 16, 2007


BEIRUT, Lebanon: Judicial authorities charged Tuesday 10 Palestinians for planning to carry out "terrorist acts" including attempts to kill U.N. peacekeepers in southern Lebanon, judicial officials and the state-run news agency said.

Military court magistrate Jean Fahd charged the 10 suspects, of which four are still at large, with "forming an armed group to carry out terrorists acts, acquiring weapons and explosives and attempting to kill members of the international force," the officials said on condition of anonymity because they being authorized to speak to the media.

If sentenced they could get up to life in prison, the state-run National News Agency said.

On Monday, officials said Lebanese military intelligence detained a "terrorist network" for allegedly plotting attacks against the U.N. peacekeepers. The army said in a statement Monday that the detainees were monitoring the movements of the U.N. peacekeeping forces in southern Lebanon.

The statement said the group planted a bomb near the southern city of Tyre to target a U.N. patrol, but that it didn't explode due to a problem in the trigger.

The detainees also allegedly admitted they planned to plant two other bombs in the same area and detonate them within a short period to cause maximum casualties among the forces, the statement said.

There has been two major attacks against U.N. peacekeepers in southern Lebanon killing six in recent months.

In August, Lebanese authorities arrested two Palestinians in connection with a roadside bombing that targeted U.N. peacekeepers on July 16. The bombing of a U.N. jeep in the southern village of Qassimiyeh caused damage but no casualties.

No group has claimed responsibility for the Qassimiyeh attack or the June 24 blast that killed six Spanish peacekeepers in southern Lebanon. But in a July videotape, al-Qaida's deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahri blessed the first attack, fueling speculation that it was carried out by al-Qaida-linked militants.

Thousands of U.N. peacekeepers were deployed in southern Lebanon last year along with 15,000 Lebanese troops following a 34-day war between Israel and the militant Hezbollah group.

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