Al-Qaida suspect nabbed in Beirut

May 24, 2012 at 12:36 PM
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BEIRUT, Lebanon, May 24 (UPI) -- Lebanese security forces said Thursday a gunman arrested following a standoff with police had connections to an al-Qaida cell.

At least two people were killed in a standoff between Lebanese forces and two gunmen. One of the men arrested was identified by security forces as belonging to a 13-member al-Qaida cell, The Daily Star newspaper in Lebanon reports.

The gunfight erupted when police responded to reports of gunfire in west Beirut early Thursday morning. One of the gunmen was killed.

The Lebanese news service reports that security forces discovered the body of a man allegedly killed in a dispute over a Syrian woman during investigations following the shooting.

Tensions are high in Lebanon following recent clashes along the northern border thought to be tied to the conflict in neighboring Syria. Political violence was also reported earlier this week in Beirut, prompting calls from Saudi King Abdullah for a national dialogue in Lebanon.

President Michel Suleiman announced plans for a tour of Arab states to solicit support for such an effort. The president plans to visit Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, three countries that recently issued travel warnings for Lebanon.

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