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Terrorist chief wanted by U.S. dies while in Lebanese custody

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Lebanese security officials announced on Saturday that an upper-echelon terrorist chief wanted by the United States and linked to al-Qaeda who was arrested by intelligence agents in Beirut, is now dead, according to Middle East news organizations on Saturday.

Majid al-Majid, the alleged leader of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, had claimed responsibility for a deadly terrorist attack on the Iranian embassy in Beirut. The United States placed the organization on its list of designated terrorist organizations in 2012, according to the U.S. Department of State.

According to an Examiner news story, Majid had been arrested by Lebanese security forces in connection with the embassy attack.

Al-Arabiya reported that on Dec. 27, 2013, the hospital where Majid was being treated for kidney disease had contacted the Red Cross have him transferred to a more modern-equipped medical facility.

Unfortunately for Majid, before he arrived at the second facility, Lebanese intelligence agents intercepted the ambulance and arrested Majid. The newspaper story added that no one at either hospital or with the ambulance service knew at the time who Majid was.

Denied medical treatment, the suspect died while in detention or during interrogation, according to counterterrorism task force member Richard Landrick.

Majid al-Majid was considered one of the most wanted people in Saudi Arabia for terrorism-related charges. He was actually arrested two weeks ago, but the arrest was kept secret while the radical emir was interrogated by Lebanese security service officials, according to the Examiner news story.

Majid's group -- an al-Qaeda-affiliate -- Abdullah Azzam Brigades claims credit for the twin suicide bombings against the Iranian embassy in Beirut which killed 25 people and injured more than 70 others. The Iranians are Shiite Muslims while al-Qaeda and its affiliates are Sunni.

The Lebanese-wing of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades is in the midst of a violent rivalry with Hezbollah, which spilled over from Syria into Lebanon. During July 2013 the organization claimed responsibility for attacking the vehicle of a senior Hezbollah figure, who was killed during the attack in the region of Majdal Anjar, on the Lebanon-Syria border, according to an Examiner story.

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