Lebanese security forces have thwarted an attempt to smuggle 51 people from Lebanon to Cyprus, the Internal Security Forces (ISF) said on Saturday.
39 men, 5 women, and 7 children, all Syrian nationals, were stopped by the Information Branch of the ISF on May 4th as they were headed to Cyprus by sea, from the beach of the northern town of Anfeh, the ISF said in a statement.
Upon their interrogation, the detainees confessed that they had been waiting for a boat to pick them up from the beach and take them to Cyprus, in exchange for $2,500 per person, to be paid upon arrival.
The Information Branch identified 3 individuals suspected to be involved in the smuggling operation: N.D. (32, Syrian), M.M. (43, Syrian), and K.A. (24, Syrian), all of whom denied any involvement in the case.
They were later found to be cooperating with 2 individuals, one located in Lebanon and nicknamed “Abou Mahmoud,” and the other located in Cyprus and known as “Abou Yorob.”
The investigation into the case is ongoing, and work is underway to apprehend the remaining suspects.
This foiled human-smuggling attempt comes less than 2 weeks after the Lebanese Army thwarted an attempt to smuggle 69 Syrian nationals to Cyprus.
*Photo used for illustrative purposes only.