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Leader of group linked to al Qaeda held in Lebanon -sources

Source: Reuters - Tue, 31 Dec 2013 07:04 PM
Author: Reuters
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(Repeats to add WASHINGTON dateline. No changes to text.)

WASHINGTON, Dec 31 (Reuters) - A Saudi militant who allegedly leads a group linked to al Qaeda which operates throughout the Middle East has been arrested by military authorities in Lebanon, according to U.S. national security sources.

Two U.S. sources said that media reports from Lebanon that Lebanese Armed Forces had recently captured Majid bin Muhammad al-Majid, leader of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades were credible. The sources did not offer further details on the circumstances in which he was captured.

Lebanese media reported on Tuesday that Majid had been arrested two days ago. One report said he had lived for years in a Palestinian refugee camp before leaving for Syria a month ago, where he allegedly pledged allegiance to the leader of the Nusrah Front, one of the most extreme and violent Islamic militant groups fighting to oust the government of President Bashar Assad.

According to the Long War Journal, a respected counter-terrorism blog, Majid is among 85 individuals identified on a Saudi government list issued in 2009 as most wanted for their alleged involvement with al-Qaeda.

The Long War Journal said that the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, named after a founder of al Qaeda and associate of the late Osama bin Laden, were formed some time after 2005 as a spinoff of al-Qaeda in Iraq. The blog said the group's mission was to attack targets in Lebanon and elsewhere around the Middle East. (Reporting By Mark Hosenball; Editing by Alistair Bell and Andrew Hay)

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