International News

    Lebanon: Wife of Bilal Badr briefly detained

    The Lebanese Army Monday briefly detained the wife of high-profile wanted militant Bilal Badr whose whereabouts are unknown, security sources told The Daily Star.
    A source reported that the woman, identified as Baraa J., had been stopped at a checkpoint at the eastern entrance to Ain al-Hilweh’s Nabaa neighborhood for identity checks as she was wearing a veil.
    “[This is] part of the security measures taken to limit the escape of wanted persons from the camp, especially as some try to leave [disguised] as veiled women.”
    Badr is an Islamist militia leader in Ain al-Hilweh who has previously had reported links to Al-Qaeda and is thought to now command a group of men with Daesh (ISIS) affiliation. He is wanted for instigating several rounds of fighting with joint Palestinian security forces in the camp in April and August. The intense April and August clashes around his former stronghold of Al-Tiri left at least 16 dead and over 120 wounded as well as leaving widespread material damage. UNRWA, the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, is still working to repair damage and compensate local residents for losses.
    Although a new Palestinian committee was established after clashes in August to oversee and encourage wanted suspects to leave the south Lebanon refugee camp in a bid to ease tensions, recent cases of high-profile fugitives illustrate the challenges factions still face. Sources in the camp told The Daily Star on Dec. 5 that there was mounting evidence that Palestinian Islamist fugitives Haitham al-Shaabi and Mohammad al-Arifi – the latest in a string of wanted individuals – had left both the camp and Lebanon. Numerous high-profile figures have been able to leave the closely guarded confines of Ain al-Hilweh and flee the country without being apprehended.

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