Saturday 2 March 2024 - 22:42

Dutch Armed Group Arrested by Hezbollah in Beirut Suburb

Story Code : 1119944
Dutch Armed Group Arrested by Hezbollah in Beirut Suburb
The men were found in possession of military-grade weapons, ammunition, and equipment. 

The Dutch government claimed the six men were part of a special group sent to evacuate its nationals if the war between Hezbollah and Israel expanded. 

Hezbollah handed over the men to the Lebanese Intelligence Directorate, where they were interrogated and kept in detention until early Friday morning. 

Sources speaking with Al-Akhbar said the six men claimed to be members of the Dutch military, simulating an evacuation attempt from inside the southern suburb. Contact with them was lost after they entered the southern suburb and were stopped by Hezbollah security personnel. Two employees of the Dutch embassy residing in the southern suburb allegedly participated in the failed simulation.

However, journalist Hasan Illaik of the Lebanese news outlet Al-Mahatta reported that the embassy employees were not Dutch nationals and that the "Dutch ambassador to Lebanon quickly arrived at the ministry to pressure their release, under the pretext that they had not committed any crime. This is, of course, untrue given that this is a major violation of the law and that it was a significant security threat.”

Illaik added that, “even more suspiciously, the armed group claimed to have carried out the operation without consulting their own embassy. It was also discovered that they launched their operation from Kaslik,” a coastal town north of Beirut, "rather than from the embassy or a place affiliated with the embassy."

Neither the Lebanese military nor the Dutch government provided an official statement or explanation for the incident.