Assiri denies Saudis being
part of Hamra terror cell

BEIRUT – Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awad Assiri refuted reports that Saudi nationals were among the terror suspects who were arrested Friday in a hotel in Beirut’s Hamra.


“There was no Saudi detainee in the case of the terror network which was arrested in the Napoleon Hotel in Hamra,” Assiri said in comments published Sunday in the Saudi daily Okaz.


He explained that the Saudis who were in the hotel and who were interrogated by Lebanese security members were present in Beirut to participate in a conference.


“The Lebanese authorities released them right after they questioned them and it turned out they were in Lebanon in order to participate in a conference.”


“They have nothing to do with any terrorist network,” the Saudi envoy added.


A security source had told Al-Mustaqbal newspaper, in comments published on the same day, that initial investigations in the Hamra hotel arrests “confirmed the presence of a terror network.”


“Investigations are ongoing with 3 suspects…one of whom holds the French nationality and is of Arab origin,” the source added.


It also noted that the French citizen was the “mastermind” behind the terror network.


Members of Lebanon’s Internal Security Forces arrested on Friday 102 people in Beirut’s Hamra Street and neighboring areas following reports of terror plots targeting an Amal Movement conference and General Security chief Abbas Ibrahim.


85 people were subsequently released, while 17 remained in custody for further investigations, the ISF said in a statement. 


The National News Agency reported that the arrested suspects had entered Lebanon with Arab passports.

They have nothing to do with any terrorist network.