Lebanese Court Convicts Men of Al Qaeda Links

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A Lebanese court convicted 11 men of having links to Al Qaeda and carrying out terrorist acts, and sentenced them to life in prison, a court official said Saturday.

The men — six Palestinians, three Lebanese and two Syrians — were tried in absentia since they are still on the run, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

The men were convicted Friday of transporting fighters from Lebanon into Iraq and from Syria into Lebanon to carry out attacks, said the official. They were also found guilty of forming an armed gang with the intent to carry out terror attacks, forging government documents and giving shelter to wanted people.

The same court also convicted a Palestinian man and four Lebanese of belonging to an armed group and attempting to carry out terror acts. The five, all in custody, were given prison terms ranging from two to five years.

On Tuesday, a Lebanese investigating judge indicted 21 members of an Al Qaeda-inspired militant group, Fatah al-Islam, for a bombing in northern Lebanon last year that killed 18 people, mostly soldiers.