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Security forces mounted an operation against Islamist prisoners inside a notorious Lebanese jail on Monday, after the interior minister said some inmates were linked to a weekend suicide attack at a café that killed eight people.
Prisoners started fires in protest after they were moved around inside Roumieh jail, the country’s Internal Security Force said in a statement, adding that the situation was “under control.”
The facility holds hundreds of inmates accused of terror offences. Its ‘B’ block “boasts a collection of dangerous individuals from a who’s who of the world’s most extreme Islamist movements such as ISIS; Al-Qaeda and its Syrian affiliate, the Nusra Front; and Fatah al-Islam, among others,” according to Lebanon’s Daily Star newspaper.
The operation comes as Lebanon struggles to stem the flow of violence from across the border in neighboring Syria.
Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk told local television that the prison raid came after information that some prisoners were connected to the Saturday’s attack, in the city of Tripoli. Two suicide bombers, each wearing a vest carrying nine pounds of explosives, attacked a café in the Alawite neighborhood of Jabal Mohsen.
“The operation in Roumieh started after we busted calls between prisoners inside Block B and [terrorists] linked to the Jabal Mohsen case,” Machnouk told LBCI.
In response to the prison crackdown, the Nusra Front threatened members of the Lebanese security forces it has been holding captive, Reuters reported.
- Mustafa Kassem, Alastair Jamieson and Charlene Gubash
Reuters contributed to this report.