The Lebanese army detained on Friday a pickup truck driver trying to transport wanted Syrians to the neighboring country through the northeastern border town of Arsal, media reports said.
The army issued a communique saying that “an army checkpoint arrested at 08:30 pm on Thursday the driver of a Hyundai pickup, Khaled Deeb al-Krenbi, who didn’t hold any identification papers and had in his possession a gun and its ammo.”
“Two Syrians were detained with Krenbi… Mohammed Abdul Sater and Adullah Mohammed al-Akkouk, who are suspected of fighting against the army in the region of Arsal.”
The army statement said that the detainees were handed over to the competent authority for legal action against them.
The National News Agency reported earlier that al-Krenbi was smuggling two wanted “terrorists,” who are reportedly the escorts of Imad Ahmed Jomaa, a member of the al-Qaida-affiliated al-Nusra Front.
Jomaa’s arrest prompted clashes on August 2 between the army and Islamist militants in Arsal, which left 19 soldiers, 16 civilians, and dozens of jihadists dead.
He was known to be a member of al-Nusra Front, al-Qaida’s Syria franchise, but a video that surfaced in recent weeks shows him pledging allegiance to the Islamic State, which reportedly appointed him as the leader of the extremist Fajr al-Islam Brigade.
Media reports said that the three men were detained at Ain al-Shaab army post.
The detainees were transferred to the army barracks in Ablah region and later moved to Beirut for questioning.