A Lebanon-based militant with reported links to al-Qaeda pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in an audio recording released late Saturday, urging the radical Syrian militant group to "reactivate its cells" in the country.
"We pledge allegiance to [ISIL chief] Abu Bakr al-Husseini al-Qurshi al-Baghdadi to listen and obey", a man identifying himself as Abu Sayyaf al-Ansari and claiming to be based in the northern city of Tripoli said in the audio message.
"We ask Baghdadi to reactivate its cells in Lebanon to carry on with jihadist operations that have intimidated America", Abu Sayyaf said in the recording, which was circulated on social media websites and widely covered on local news outlets.
In an article published Saturday, Al-Akhbar newspaper described Abu Sayyaf as an al-Qaeda commander based in Lebanon but little else is known about the man in the recording.
In the message, Abu Sayyaf also urged Lebanese soldiers from the Sunni sect to desert, accusing the military of siding with Hezbollah.
He said "the Umma has been shaken as a result of the betrayal of the crusader Lebanese Army that is backed by Hezbollah".
His remarks came a day after al-Nusra Front in Lebanon warned the Sunni sect to avoid areas where Hezbollah has a presence or enjoys support. The group also called for the support of the Sunni sect in its fight against Hezbollah.
Nusra Front in Lebanon, which is linked to Syria’s Nusra Front, has claimed responsibility for bombings in areas in Lebanon that back Hezbollah.
On Saturday, Former Prime Minister "Saad Hariri warned" against attempts at dragging the Lebanese into conflicts between Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda.
ISIL and al-Nusra Front in Lebanon have claimed responsibility for three bombings in the country, including the Beirut southern suburbs, in retaliation to Hezbollah’s military campaign in Syria.
Hariri, who has repeatedly urged his supporters to remain moderate in the face of rising radical groups, has said he is willing to join a new government with Hezbollah for the sake of safeguarding Lebanon.