Lebanon arrests Syrian involved in kidnapping of nuns from Maaloula in 2013

BEIRUT — More than 7 years after the kidnapping of the nuns of Maaloula by Jabhat al-Nusra, the Lebanese Army announced the arrest of a Syrian involved in the incident.

On Sunday, the Lebanese Army Command announced that a patrol from the Intelligence Directorate in the town of Majdal Anjar arrested Syrian F.H., alias Abu Anad, for leading an armed group affiliated with Jabhat al-Nusra and participating in the kidnapping, detention, and then release of the nuns in exchange for several of the organization’s militants.

The Lebanese Army added that the suspected reportedly participated with his group in several battles in Jaroud Qalamoun and in the battle of Arsal on 2 August 2014. In addition, it confirmed that books belonging to the organization and binoculars, 4 cell phones, 3 cameras, and a military camouflage were seized inside the man’s house.

In December 2013, Jabhat al-Nusra kidnapped 13 nuns and 3 assistants — both Syrian and Lebanese — from the Maaloula Monastery in Syria. Abu Malik al-Tali, then the leader of the group who kidnapped the nuns, released them in March 2014 after a deal was made in which he received a large ransom and the release of several of its imprisoned members after Qatari mediators intervened.