Suspected al-Qaeda leader dies in custody in Lebanon

Saturday 04 January 2014 15.07
Suspected al-Qaeda leader dies in custody

The suspected leader of an al Qaeda-linked militant group that claimed responsibility for bombing the Iranian embassy in Beirut two months ago has died in custody.

Majid bin Muhammad al-Majid, a Saudi national who was wanted by authorities in his own country, had been suffering from kidney failure and went into a coma on Friday, security sources said.

He died in a military hospital in Beirut, they added.

Mr Majid was believed to be the leader of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, which have claimed attacks across the region, most recently the double suicide assault on Iran's Beirut embassy, which killed at least 25 people.

His identity was confirmed by Lebanese officials on Friday after DNA tests.

In tweets at the time of the bombing, the Abdullah Azzam brigades threatened more attacks in Lebanon unless Iran pulled its forces out of Syria.

An increasingly sectarian civil war there has attracted Sunni and Shia Muslim fighters from neighbouring countries as well as military support and economic aid from Iran.

Last year Azzam Brigades, named after an associate of the late al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, were formally designated by the US State Department as a foreign terrorist organisation.

Keywords: al-qaeda