Report: Islamist Inmates Reject to be Swapped with Arsal Hostages

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Islamist gunmen held at Roumieh prison, whose names were mentioned by Islamist gunmen to be released from the facility, reject to be exchanged with the abducted Lebanese soldiers and policemen.

Sources told al-Akhbar newspaper, published on Thursday, that Syrian prisoners “expressed surprise that their names were on Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s (ISIL) list of demands.”

The newspaper said that the inmates reportedly disagree with the mentality of the group.

The sources told the daily that five inmates so far reject to be swapped with the remaining Arsal hostages, fearing that they might be forced to head to the Syrian al-Qalamoun.

Jihadists who are holding several Lebanese soldiers and policemen hostage after withdrawing from the northeastern border town of Arsal have called on the Lebanese government to release Islamist inmates from the country’s largest prison in Roumieh in exchange for the captive security personnel.

The jihadists beheaded two of their captives and have threatened to kill more.

The cabinet has totally rejected such a measure as the March 14 camp’s ministers have called for the speedy trial of the Islamists.

There are hundreds of Islamist inmates in Roumieh prison awaiting their trials. They were reportedly involved in terrorist acts, including planning suicide attacks, belonging to terrorist groups and other charges.

Around 90 Islamists have been tried. They were arrested over their involvement in bloody clashes with the Lebanese army at the northern refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared in 2007.

Qatar has reportedly dispatched a delegation to negotiate with Islamist gunmen from ISIL and the al-Qaida-affiliate al-Nusra Front the release of the soldiers and policemen.

The delegation, according to reports, tasked a Syrian national to meet with the extremists to relay their demands to the Lebanese state, which rejects direct talks with the jihadists.

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