Reuters International

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanese authorities have detained two Lebanese employees of a Beirut airport service company over contacts with "terrorist parties", security sources said on Sunday. The sources gave no further details as the suspects were still being questioned.

Public Works and Transport Minister Ghazi Zeaiter said last month that Beirut airport needed at least $24 million (£17 million) to address pressing gaps in security, including a new perimeter wall and baggage inspection equipment.

Interior Minister Nohad Machnouk has said safety procedures at the airport are inadequate, comparing it to Egypt's Sharm el-Sheikh airport, where a bomb planted on a Russian plane killed 224 people in October.

The Islamic State militant group and the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front have both mounted suicide bomb attacks in Lebanon since the eruption of the Syrian conflict in 2011.

The Lebanese Shi'ite group Hezbollah is fighting alongside President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian war.

(Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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 Reuters International