Senior al-Qa'ida figure Majid al-Majid dies in custody in Lebanon

An army statement said al-Majid died in a military hospital in Beirut

Majid al-Majid, the leader of an al-Qa'ida-linked group in Lebanon who claimed responsibility for attacks across the Middle East has died in custody, the Lebanese army has said.

In a short statement, it said al-Majid, who was on Saudi Arabia's most-wanted terrorist lists, “died this morning while undergoing treatment at the central military hospital after his health deteriorated.”

It did not provide any further details, other than that he had been receiving treatment at a military hospital in Beirut.

Earlier, a Lebanese army general speaking on condition of anonymity told The Associated Press that al-Majid died after suffering kidney failure. This was not verified by the state-run National News Agency, who said al-Majid died “after his health conditions deteriorated.”

Al-Majid, a Saudi citizen, was detained in Lebanon late last month and was being held at a secret location.

He was the purported commander of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, a Sunni militant group with al-Qa'ida links. The group recently claimed responsibility for an attack on Iran's Beirut embassy in November which left 23 people dead and wounded dozens.

The Brigades have also claimed responsibility for other attacks throughout the region, including the 2010 bombing of a Japanese oil tanker in the Persian Gulf and several rocket strikes from Lebanon into Israel.

The US State Department declared his group a foreign terrorist organization in 2012, freezing any assets it holds in the United States and banning Americans from conducting any business with the group.

Reports of his arrest began to surface in Lebanon earlier this week. Security officials eventually confirmed that they had a suspect in custody, but at the time said they were not certain of his identity.

His identity was confirmed by authorities on Friday following a DNA test.

Al-Majid was believed to have serious kidney problems requiring dialysis. He was an important figure, and the Abdullah Azzam Brigades grew from a relatively small outfit to a larger terror group since he took over in mid-2012, after the organization's previous leader, Saleh al-Qarawi, was gravely wounded in Pakistan.

According to Lebanese newspapers, al-Majid was detained during the last week of December while on his way from Beirut to the eastern Bekaa Valley that borders Syria. The reports said that he was captured while in an ambulance after he had undergone dialysis at a hospital in Beirut.

In the spring of 2013, after the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah group announced that it was fighting alongside Syrian President Bashar Assad's troops against the Syrian rebels, the Abdullah Azzam Brigades began to target Hezbollah as well — and by extension, their Iranian patrons.

On Friday, families of those killed in the Iranian embassy bombing demanded that al-Majid, who had not been charged in the attack, be tried in Lebanon and not be sent to his homeland.

Additional reporting by Associated Press

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Sport
Louis van Gaal
football
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jay Z has placed a bet on streaming being the future for music and videos
music
Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury
music
  • Get to the point
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own