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Lebanon Denies Jordan Foiled Embassy Attacks - 2001-10-16


Lebanon's general prosecutor, Adnan Addoum has denied reports that a plot to blow up the U.S., British and Jordanian embassies in Beirut had been foiled in the past few days. However, Lebanon's security forces say they have arrested two suspected terrorists.

News reports have indicated that Jordanian security services, along with their Lebanese counterparts, had uncovered and defused such a plot in recent days. According to the reports, the embassies targeted were of countries that are part of the international coalition fighting terrorism.

However, Lebanon's security forces did reveal that two members of the Palestinian Islamist group Asbat al Ansar had been captured. Security officials say Asbat al Ansar is the group alleged to have been behind the plot to blow up the embassies in Beirut.

Beirut's An Nahar newspaper reported Tuesday that one of the men arrested had revealed that Asbat al Ansar fighters were being trained in the mountains outside the Lebanese port city of Tripoli "to attack American and Western interests."

Asbat al Ansar in on the U.S. government list of organizations linked to global terrorism. It is also thought to have ties to Osama ben Laden, the prime suspect in the September 11 attacks in the United States.

Lebanese officials say government troops killed a number of Asbat al Ansar guerillas during clashes with the group outside of Tripoli two years ago.

The group's leader is thought to be hiding in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ein el Hilweh, on the outskirts of Sidon.

The Lebanese army says it has not been able to enter the heavily armed Palestinian camp.

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