Lebanese police arrest members of pro-Syrian party

Members of the SSNP nabbed; explosives, electrical fuses, timers seized.

Lebanese troop 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
Lebanese troop 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
Police arrested four people and seized large quantities of explosives, electrical fuses and timers in several homes in northern Lebanon on Thursday, a police statement said. An official close to the investigation said those detained were members of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, a pro-Syrian Lebanese political party. The police statement said Prosecutor General Saeed Mirza ordered authorities to raid the homes in the district of Koura after receiving information of explosives stashed there. Police found large quantities of explosives with electrical fuses, timers as well as large numbers of weapons. It said four people were arrested and an investigation was under way. The SSNP is a secular ultra-nationalist party advocating a greater Syria that encompasses Lebanon, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and Israel, Iraq, Kuwait and Cyprus. It once fielded street fighters in Lebanon during the country's 1975-90 civil war and was active in south Lebanon, fighting against Israeli troops in the 1980s. In the last 20 years, however, the party became increasingly pro-Syrian. Following the Nov. 21 assassination of anti-Syrian Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel, party premises were attacked by a mob of angry Gemayel supporters. Many among Lebanon's anti-Syrian politicians blamed Damascus for the assassination and took out their anger on Syria's perceived allies. Damascus has denied involvement.