Tripoli Attack Revives Concerns in Lebanon Over Threat of ‘Lone Wolves’
A shooting carried out by an extremist in Lebanon’s northern city of Tripoli on Monday has revived concerns over “lone wolf” attacks ahead of summer that is expected to be promising for the country’s tourism industry.
On Monday, Abdul-Rahman Mabsout, riding a motorcycle, opened fire on police and army vehicles in the city, killing two police officers and two soldiers before breaking into a residential building and hiding there. He later blew himself up by detonating an explosive belt when confronted by troops.
The attacker had earlier been in jail on charges of ISIS membership.
On Tuesday, President Michel Aoun chaired a security meeting at Baabda Palace to discuss the terrorist attack.
The President said confronting terrorism requires vigilance and constant readiness. He emphasized the significance of coordination, cooperation and exchange of information between the security apparatuses, and called for intensified security monitoring of suspects.
The attack was the first in two years ago. Lebanon has relatively been stable with the army and security forces arresting fugitives and militants returning from Syria.
The country has also been constantly keeping tabs on suspects and sleeper cells.
Mabsout is considered a “lone wolf” attacker, who managed to escape after the Lebanese authorities dismantled extremist organizations during the August 2017 Fajr Al Jurud operation against militants on the border with Syria.
Military sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that Army Commander Gen. Joseph Aoun believes that there is a constant security threat in Lebanon over the return of extremist fighters from Syria.
“The Tripoli attack was a sign that extremists are still able to operate as lone wolves,” the sources said.