The Lebanese Army said Saturday it had arrested a prominent Al Qaeda leader in Deir Ammar town, northeast of the city of Tripoli.
It identified the arrested man only as "T.M." and said in a statement that the arrest took place on Friday "after several years of efforts to obtain information."
T.M., a Lebanese citizen, is suspected of being "one of the most prominent leaders of Al Qaeda and the founder of its cells in Lebanon," it added.
"He has also played a key role in establishing the terrorist Fatah al-Islam organization," the statement added, referring to an Al Qaeda-inspired militant group that used to be active in Lebanon over a decade ago.
Fatah al-Islam was mainly based in the Palestinian camp of Nahr al-Bared. It was formed as a result of a split from a group linked to the Yasser Arafat-founded group Fatah.
The group, created in 2006, led the fighting against the Lebanese Army in the Palestinian camp between May and September 2007. These clashes led to the destruction of the camp.
According to the army, T.M. was "closely linked to the group's leaders" before disappearing after the 2007 fighting.
He then returned to prominence after the rise of the Islamic State and Syrian militant group the Nusra Front.
"He was linked to the terrorist groups active in the north and hosted one of their senior officers after the 2014 Tripoli fighting," according to the army's statement.
In October 2014, clashes broke out in central Tripoli between military and armed Islamists, who then took refuge in the neighborhood of Bab al-Tabbaneh, against a backdrop of tensions related to the war in Syria. The military at the time shelled Bab al-Tabbaneh with mortars for several days.
"The investigation is continuing" with the suspect, the army concluded in its statement.