Wednesday, 19 August 2015

ISIS Leader Caught On HIs Way To Nigeria

Sunni cleric arrested in Beirut despite 70s disguise

Ahmad al-Assir had spent two years on the run after clashing with the Lebanese army but was spotted as he tried to travel through airport

Not even a 70s-style makeover could help a fugitive Sunni Muslim cleric flee Lebanon.

Ahmad al-Assir, wanted over deadly clashes with the army, had shaved off his bushy beard, swapped his wire-rimmed spectacles for thick, plastic frames, and grown his hair into an unflattering combover.

But he was still spotted as he tried to slip unnoticed through Beirut airport after two years on the run.

"He had changed his appearance and was trying to leave the country," a security source told AFP shortly after the arrest on Saturday morning.

He was trying to fly to Nigeria via Cairo, on a fake Palestinian travel document that had a valid visa, added the security directorate.

The preacher rose to prominence in 2011 with the outbreak of Syria's civil war. He urged his supporters to join Sunni militias operating in Syria and became an outspoken critic of the Shia Hezbollah movement.

He frequently accused the Lebanese army of failing to protect Sunni civilians.

Clashes between his supporters and the army escalated in 2013, with an attack on a military checkpoint. The fighting, around Sidon, wounded dozens of civilians and paralysedmuch of the coastal city.

When the fighting was over, weapons including rocket launchers were found in Assir's headquarters complex, which included a mosque, several office buildings and apartment blocks.

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