The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS,) the Sunni militant group that has captured large parts of Iraq in recent weeks, has set its sights on instigating "a full-scale conflagration" in Lebanon, according to an article on the Lebanese news website Al-Akhbar.
Written by journalist Radwan Mortada, the article maintains that ISIS is "resolved to bring back suicide bombings en masse to the country of the cedars." The target of the bombings is Hezbollah, the Shi'ite militant organization that is fighting ISIS as an ally of President Bashar Assad in Syria.
The suicide bomber who blew himself up in Beirut's Duroy Hotel last week was sent by ISIS as part of its attempt to "overwhelm Lebanon with a formidable wave of suicide bombings," the article says, quoting security sources.
An accomplice who fled the Duroy Hotel after the blast was captured and 17 suspects were taken into custody during an earlier raid on the city's Napoleon Hotel.
Proof that ISIS is involved is the fact that it is one of the only organizations able to provide "the sheer amount of money that has been spent on the suicide bombers, including their travel, accommodation, and transportation costs, and the nature of the terrorist gear," according to the article.
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It continues that the person behind the hotel bombers, including transporting the militants and booking their hotel rooms, has been identified as Al-Monzer Khaldoun al-Hassan, brother of two jihadis who died in Syria nearly a year ago.
Lebanese investigators are inclined to separate between the two hotel incidents and two other suicide bombings in Lebanon last week, one in Dahr al-Baidar and the other in Tayouneh, the article says. They believe that the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, a local Sunni group that claimed responsibility for the Tayouneh and Dahr al-Baidar attacks, was indeed responsible – but not for the Beirut operations.
"By contrast, the security officials say, the would-be suicide bombers intercepted in the two Beirut hotels are likely to be part of a plot hatched outside Lebanon, which confirms that ISIS is behind them," it says.
The article says that social media sites have been abuzz with unverified messages about ISIS' responsibility for the suicide bombers caught in the hotels and claims that al-Nusra Front military commander Abu Hammam al-Suri recently called on all mujahidin to prepare themselves to take the fight to Shia cities in Lebanon and for a showdown with Hezbollah.
According to available information, the article says, the ISIS operatives are mostly Lebanese, Palestinian, and Syrian nationals who fought in Syria, before returning to Lebanon to form logistical networks assisting suicide bombers sent from abroad.
Meanwhile, AFP reports that ISIS executed and crucified one of its own men in Syria last week for corruption. Photographs posted on websites showed the body and bloodied head of a bearded man with a placard reading: "Guilty: Abu Adnan al-Anadali. Sentence: execution and three days of crucifixion. Motive: extorting money at checkpoints by accusing drivers of apostasy."
The text is signed by "The prince of believers," thought to refer to ISIS chief Abu Baqr al-Baghdadi.
Before being crucified, the man was killed by three bullets to the head at Bab in the north of Aleppo province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told AFP.
As the effective government in a large chunk of Iraqi territory, ISIS has released a document aimed at civilians in Nineveh, a province in the country's northeast that contains the major city Mosul, the Washington Post reports.
Called a "Contract of the City," the document sets out the law for residents of the area.
- All Muslims will be treated well, unless they are allied with oppressors or help criminals.
- Money taken from the government is now public. Whoever steals or loots faces amputations. Anyone who threatens or blackmails will face severe punishment (This section also quotes a verse from the Quran (Al-Ma'idah: 33) that says that criminals may be killed or crucified.)
- All Muslims are encouraged to perform their prayers with the group.
- Drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes are banned.
- Rival political or armed groups are not tolerated.
- Police and military officers can repent, but anyone who insists upon apostasy faces death.
- Sharia law is implemented.
- Graves and shrines are not allowed, and will be destroyed.
- All women are told that stability is at home and they should not go outside unless necessary. They should be covered, in full Islamic dress.
- Be happy to live in an Islamic land.