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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 June 2018

ISIL cell in Lebanon used football team to lure young boys

Four Syrian men were arrested and confessed to belonging to ISIL and to trying to recruit a number of Syrian and Lebanese boys through the football team

Lebanese security forces have broken up an ISIL cell that had set up a football team to act as a front for recruiting young boys into the extremist group's ranks.

Four Syrian men were arrested and confessed to belonging to ISIL and to trying to recruit a number of Syrian and Lebanese boys through the football team, the General Security Forces in Lebanon said on Wednesday.

The sports activities "were interspersed with religious lessons centred around the group’s extremist ideology", a statement said.

It was unclear where the team was based and when the plot was discovered.

The security forces said the case has been referred to court and that investigations into who was involved were continuing.

During their interrogation, the four men confessed to having links with ISIL.

One of them said his wife had gone to Syria to join family members in ISIL-held territory. His brother-in-law had already been arrested in Lebanon for links to ISIL and had passed on details of an ISIL member in Raqqa to help him reach the Syrian city held by the group.

Security forces said the man had tried unsuccessfully to reach Raqqa several times.