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Lebanon claims arrest of jihadist group's Saudi chief

By Laura Smith-Spark and Salma Abdelaziz, CNN
January 3, 2014 -- Updated 1417 GMT (2217 HKT)
The site of a double suicide bombing outside Iran's embassy in southern Beirut on November 19, 2013.
The site of a double suicide bombing outside Iran's embassy in southern Beirut on November 19, 2013.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Saudi national Majed Al-Majed is thought to be head of the jihadist Abdullah Azzam Brigades
  • His identity has been confirmed by DNA tests, the Lebanese army says
  • He has been on Saudi Arabia's most wanted list since 2009, the army says
  • The Sunni jihadist group has claimed attacks in Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan

(CNN) -- Lebanese authorities have arrested the chief of an al Qaeda-affiliated jihadist group that has previously claimed terror attacks in Lebanon, Egypt and elsewhere, the Lebanese army said Friday.

The suspect is Saudi national Majed Al-Majed, who is accused of heading the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, the army statement said.

He has been on Saudi Arabia's most wanted list since 2009, the statement said, adding that DNA tests had confirmed his identity.

The Sunni jihadist group recently took responsibility for a pair of suicide bombings targeting the Iranian Embassy in Beirut that left more than 20 people dead.

It warned that more attacks would come unless Hezbollah, a Lebanese-based, Iranian-backed Shiite militia, stopped sending fighters to support Syrian regime forces.

The Abdullah Azzam Brigades has previously claimed responsibility for a failed attack on U.S. warships docked in Jordan and for bombings of Egyptian beach resorts in 2004 and 2005 that killed more than 100 people.

The United States declared it a terrorist group in 2012, saying it was responsible for a 2010 attack on a Japanese-owned oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz and had expressed interest in attacking Western interests in the Middle East.

The group formed in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and has battled Lebanese government troops before.

Beirut was shaken Thursday by a large car bomb blast in a residential neighborhood known as a Hezbollah stronghold.

At least four people were killed and 77 injured in the explosion, according to Lebanon's state-run National News Agency.

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