Skip to main content

Lebanon: Detained Saudi terror suspect Al-Majed dies in custody

By Laura Smith-Spark and Mohammed Jamjoom, CNN
January 5, 2014 -- Updated 1815 GMT (0215 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Detainee Majed Al-Majed died after his health deteriorated, Lebanon's army says
  • The Saudi national was detained by the Lebanese army in the past few days
  • He was the alleged head of an al Qaeda-affiliated jihadist group, the Abdullah Azzam Brigades
  • The group has claimed responsibility for attacks in Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan

Beirut, Lebanon (CNN) -- The alleged chief of an al Qaeda-affiliated jihadist group who was arrested by Lebanese authorities this week has died in custody, the Lebanese army said Saturday.

The Lebanese army issued a statement "confirming the death of detainee Majed Al-Majed this morning at the central military hospital after deterioration in his health."

A Saudi national, Al-Majed is accused of heading the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, a Sunni jihadist group that has claimed responsibility for several bombings.

News of his death, which comes only a day after the Lebanese army announced his arrest, has prompted questions in Lebanon over exactly what happened. No details of his health issues have yet been released.

Al-Majed was captured a few days ago by Lebanese army intelligence agents, Lebanon's state-run National news Agency said.

The army said Friday that Al-Majed, whose identity was confirmed by DNA testing, had been on Saudi Arabia's most wanted list since 2009.

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

The group 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.

U.S. to Americans in Lebanon: 'Exercise extreme caution'

CNN's Nada Husseini contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
April 24, 2014 -- Updated 0626 GMT (1426 HKT)
A year ago, 1,000 garment workers died in the collapse of Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh. Here's a look at what has changed since then.
April 24, 2014 -- Updated 0453 GMT (1253 HKT)
Focus is on the fish as U.S. President starts tour with visit to legendary Tokyo restaurant.
April 23, 2014 -- Updated 1723 GMT (0123 HKT)
Fireworks are fantastic and human endeavor has its place, but sometimes Mother Nature outshines any performance we can produce.
April 24, 2014 -- Updated 0306 GMT (1106 HKT)
In 1987, China sent its very first email. Here's what it said,
April 24, 2014 -- Updated 0213 GMT (1013 HKT)
The world's new fastest elevator will fling you from earth to the 95th floor before you're done reading this article.
April 23, 2014 -- Updated 2012 GMT (0412 HKT)
In one U.S. state, a new bill will allow ordinary citizens to carry guns in all sorts of places. Does it make you feel safer?
April 21, 2014 -- Updated 1410 GMT (2210 HKT)
In South Korea, volunteer divers are risking their lives to rescue victims of the sunken ferry.
April 23, 2014 -- Updated 1915 GMT (0315 HKT)
Park Jee Young, 22, helped passengers escape as the Sewol ferry sank -- giving out life jackets while refusing to wear one herself.
April 22, 2014 -- Updated 1643 GMT (0043 HKT)
What did outgoing manager David Moyes get wrong in his six months with English Premier League football team Manchester United?
April 23, 2014 -- Updated 1736 GMT (0136 HKT)
In honor of Shakespeare's birthday, here are 15 of the world's most amazing theaters.
April 22, 2014 -- Updated 1734 GMT (0134 HKT)
CNN exclusive: Australian officials are hammering out a new agreement for widening the Flight 370 search area.
April 22, 2014 -- Updated 1228 GMT (2028 HKT)
Malaysian officials sent to brief Chinese families are armed with little to no information.
April 22, 2014 -- Updated 1545 GMT (2345 HKT)
When a team of Indian surgeons opened up the stomach of a 63-year-old man, they had no idea they'd extract a fortune.
April 22, 2014 -- Updated 0701 GMT (1501 HKT)
Do these photos CNN of gun-toting men wearing green uniforms prove Russian forces are in eastern Ukraine?
April 23, 2014 -- Updated 1711 GMT (0111 HKT)
If the Duchess wears it, then your fashion career is sorted for life.
April 24, 2014 -- Updated 1120 GMT (1920 HKT)
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
ADVERTISEMENT