Nine suspected terrorists have been arrested in connection with the twin bombings in Beirut that killed 44 people on Thursday, according to Deutsche Welle News.
The nine arrested in Beirut include seven Syrians and two Lebanese nationals, according to Interior Minister Nuhad Mashnuq.
“Until now the detained include seven Syrians and two Lebanese — one of them a [would-be] suicide bomber and the other a trafficker,” he said Sunday during a televised press conference.
The Interior Minister said some of the Syrian nationals were found and arrested in a Palestinian refugee camp in a Beirut suburb called Bourj al-Barajneh, while others were found in a downtown apartment where the suicide belts for the attacks were prepared.
One of the Lebanese nationals was arrested in Tripoli after a failed suicide bombing and the other was a trafficker who smuggled them all across the Syrian border.
“The whole suicide bombing network and its supporters were arrested in the 48 hours following the explosion,” said Mashnuq while applauding the Lebanese security forces for their “extraordinary achievement.”
Mashnuq also said that bombing the Hezbollah-dominated neighborhood was not the alleged terrorists first plan of action and that authorities had discovered they were originally intending to send five suicide bombers into a nearby hospital. Mashnuq said it was the hospitals heavy security presence that forced them to reconsider and move on to “plan B.”
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) quickly claimed responsibility for Thursdays bombings and the suicide bombers were allegedly seeking revenge for the Hezbollah organizations support of the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria.
According to Yahoo News, in the past month alone, ISIL has claimed responsibility for the Russian airplane crash that killed 224 people, the Beirut bombings that killed 44, and the attack on Paris that occurred just one day after Beirut, and in which at least 129 people were killed and 350 wounded.
Mashnuq warned that the neighborhood attack would not be the last and that it was likely the start of a large-scale attack on Beirut. “When they send five suicide attackers to one place, it means… it won’t be the last (time),” he said.
Ali Rizk, a political analyst based in Beirut said that the bombings are a sign that ISIL is shifting its tactics.
“The group is transforming itself into a purely terror organisation in light of its losses on the ground in Iraq and Syria,” Rizk told Al Jazeera.
Rizk also explained that ISIL has been attacking on foreign soil recently because the organization is failing to maintain power in Syria and Iraq, which were previously strongholds for the group.
“The Beirut bombing is also an indication that the idea of Islamic caliphate, as envisioned by ISIL, is facing major reality checks, and is failing apart.”
“ISIL is waging an open war against Muslim and European societies in the Middle East and Europe,” said Ali Meqdad, a member of the Lebanese parliament.
Meqdaq, who has close ties to Hezbollah, also said that ISIL is only engaging in terrorism to defame Islam’s “good name” and that the organization is only serving those who want to keep Islam “stigmatized by the terrorism label.”
“Those killed in the Beirut bombing, many of whom were children and the elderly, have paid an unnecessary price,” Meqdad said.
[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]