The trigger was the apparent planning of a suicide operation from inside the jail. The man who detonated himself out of a café in the city of Tripoli on 10 January, was directed from the third floor of Bloc B of Roumieh, a prison housed behind a thick, stone, barbed wire topped wall just north of Beirut.
A raid that followed two days later exposed hundreds of mobile phones, computers, multiple Internet connections, video conferencing capabilities. Even satellite phones, illegal outside the prison walls, were found in Bloc B – widely known as the Islamist bloc. The bloc housed 865 prisoners who are incarcerated on terrorism charges. Despite assurances that the Internal Security Forces are now fully in control of the facility, the new third floor islamist quarters are still off limits to visitors, and even to the man in charge of the prisons himself.