The Lebanese General Security recently arrested a man affiliated with the terrorist organization ISIS. The dangerous terrorist had been working on recruiting people and forming sleeper cells in Lebanon and plotting assassinations and bombings in Beirut, under the instruction of ISIS leaders.
As revealed by the Lebanese General Security, Syrian national Ibrahim Al-Salem had been contacting his recruiters via social media during his stay in his parents’ house in Ouzai, Beirut, where they had been residents since their legal entry to Lebanon in 2013.
Two years after moving to Lebanon, he temporarily went back to Syria, alone, to visit his relatives in his hometown Arbid. When the then-teenager arrived in Arbid, which had then been taken over by ISIS, Al-Salem realized that his cousins had joined the terrorist organization.
As the General Security’s interrogations uncovered, the same relatives tried persuading him to join them and undergo military training with the “Islamic State,” which went on “tempting him with various allurements.”
But he refused their offer and returned to Lebanon after spending a month in Syria. However, after his return, Al-Salem did not sever the ties with his cousins and childhood friends.
The “cubs of the caliphate” (as the terrorist organization calls its 10 to 15-year-old recruits) were able to convince him of subscribing to an ISIS Telegram channel through which they later succeeded in influencing him and ultimately recruiting him.
Through the same social media platform, the new recruit was introduced to ISIS fighters and educated on their ideology. He was also taught how to craft improvised explosive devices (IEDs) from common household materials.
Moreover, in the process, he began receiving orders from an ISIS leader who lives in Tunisia. The Lebanese General Security revealed the conversations the two had had via Telegram.
This terrorist leader, known as Abdallah Al-Tunisi, incited the new recruit to kill a Hezbollah member who lived in Al-Salem’s proximity in Beirut – and who Al-Salem came to know beforehand.
But Al-Salem was unable to undertake the task because, as he confessed, “he could not get a hold of a military weapon.” Al-Tunisi had also inquired about the presence of Hezbollah centers near Al-Salem, which implies planned future attacks against the party.
Later, the Tunisia-based “operator” ordered Al-Salem to use Google Maps to locate the US embassy in Lebanon. He did. The conversation was caught:
-“Can you target it?” -“The target is the US embassy and I’m ready.”
After failing to buy a drone due to their high prices, Al-Salem resorted to crafting one using easy-to-get materials.
He would have equipped the improvised drone with explosives later on and detonated it at the US embassy if the General Security forces hadn’t caught him a few days after starting his project.
As he confessed, he’d planned to fly the drone to the embassy at a time when it’s the most crowded. His confessions also revealed that he had been in contact with ISIS terrorists in Algeria and Egypt in addition to Syria and Tunisia.
Furthermore, Al-Salem was introduced to a terrorist known as Abu Yusuf Al-Oropi (The European) who was supposed to send him money. But the funding plan failed “because [Al-Salem] did not speak English.”
He also attempted to acquire military weaponry multiple times and was working on forming sleeper cells for the organization in Lebanon.
Fortunately, the ordeal was stopped and Lebanon was saved from a calamity by the efforts of Lebanon’s General Security forces.
Along with the maps and equipment he had been working with, the terrorist was referred to the Military Prosecution.
Notably, on Saturday, February 15th, the Lebanese General Security released a statement detailing its great achievement through which it defended Lebanon against “an imminent threat.”
However, “as a result of the media’s preoccupation with Lebanese internal developments,” as the directorate itself later noted, Lebanese media did not give the news the attention it deserved and so it went relatively unnoticed.
The LSG elaborated further that these organizations “use modern technologies and social media in a dangerous criminal process that is brainwashing children and controlling their awareness to make them dangerous terrorists, with the evidence that the terrorist Ibrahim Al-Salem was at the age of 14 when he was recruited.”