8 killed in raid on drug kingpin in Lebanon

Lebanese police intelligence gather outside a hotel after security forces raided there in Beirut's Hamra district, Lebanon, Friday, June 20, 2014. Security forces raided the hotel over suspected "terrorist cells" inside it, a police official said. In eastern Lebanon, a suicide bomber detonated his vehicle Friday near a police checkpoint, killing a few people amid heightened concerns of renewed violence, the country's state-run news agency and security officials said. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s army says eight people have been killed and 41 others arrested in a raid in Brital, in eastern Lebanon, to arrest a well-known drug dealer.

The army said Ali Zeid Ismael was wanted on dozens of arrest warrants including drug running, kidnapping, and murder.

An army officer said it was not clear if Ismael was killed in the Monday raid. The official said Ismael was not arrested. He requested anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak to the media.

Brital is well-known for its trade in drugs and smuggling with Syria.

Lebanon’s parliament speaker, Nabih Berri, said his office is considering whether to legalize hashish to raise tax revenue for the country. The crop is farmed intensively in Lebanon’s eastern Bekaa Valley region.