Following an operation performed by an extremist in Lebanon’s northern city of Tripoli last Monday, several countries, notably the United States and France, contacted Lebanon to propose help for uncovering the motive behind the attack.
Those countries also expressed their readiness to send delegations of experts specialized in fighting terrorism and in the movements of ISIS in the region.
“A number of influential European states demonstrated their willingness to help fortify Lebanon to face the comeback of terrorism and to prevent the infiltration of terrorists from Lebanon to other states,” diplomatic sources told Asharq Al-Awsat on Wednesday.
The sources added that several Western and European ambassadors had mobilized their military attachés and asked them to gather information about the attack.
“Some of those attachés had even visited Tripoli and inspected the crime scene,” the sources said, adding that other teams had directly contacted Lebanese political and security officials to discuss the operation.
On Monday, Abdul-Rahman Mabsout, riding a motorcycle, opened fire on police and army vehicles in the city, killing two police officers and two soldiers before breaking into a residential building and hiding there. He later blew himself up by detonating an explosive belt when confronted by troops.
The attack renewed threats of facing “lone wolves” as Lebanon prepares to welcome a promising summer tourist season.
The diplomatic sources said they would wait for the investigations conducted by the Lebanese Army and the Internal Security Forces to uncover how Mabsout had executed all the crimes in a very short period.
They even asked why the attacker had been released from the Roumieh prison without being subject to any tight security observation.
At the political level, the diplomatic sources said it would be important to learn about the presence of sleeper terrorist cells in Tripoli and if the city would witness additional attacks against political figures.
“Is there any security plan to track terrorists who had been released from prison and who are present mainly in the north?” the sources asked.
Following the operation, the French Embassy in Lebanon issued a statement on Wednesday saying: “We will always support Lebanon in its fight against terrorism. We highly respect and appreciate the efforts of Lebanese security forces in this battle.”