Syrian cleric confirms assassination plot against Shaar

During an interview on Future TV, The Mufti of Tripoli and the north Sheikh Malek al-Shaar revealed on Wednesday the details surrounding the alleged death threats he had received and which made him decide to prolong his stay in Europe.

“I have received several phone calls and I even met with army officers that advised me to be cautious as my movements are being watched”. Mufti Shaar said from his self exile in Paris

In a related development Abdul Jalil Saeed, a Sunni cleric who defected from the Dar al-Fatwa in Syria revealed in a taped interview that Ibrahim Hamad, a captain in the Syrian intelligence, has been collecting information about the Tripoli Mufti.

“Hamad came to Beirut many times and met with several figures at the office of Hezbollah MP Nawwaf Moussawi,” Saeed said.

“I have been informed by people in the Syrian Dar al-Fatwa that he (Hamad) was going to personally supervise the assassination operation from the Bekaa region,” he added, explaining that al-Shaar was supposed to be targeted near the residence of the Bekaa Mufti Mohammed Khalil al-Mayss.

Saeed also said that two members of the Lebanese Dar al-Fatwa are involved in this assassination attempt.

“The operation was going to look like an accident involving alcohol or something similar to Sheikh Ahmed Abdul Wahed’s assassination,” he explained.

“What I have just heard makes me believe even more that these death threats are true,” al-Shaar commented, adding that “all assassinations in Lebanon started with rumors and fabricated stories, and the proof is al-Akhbar’s (newspaper) latest stories about me”.

After al-Shaar announced that he had received death threats, al-Akhbar newspaper reported that the mufti was threatened because his son had sold non-existent properties in the Tripoli area of Ras al-Sakhr to members of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime. The Mufti denied the newspaper’s reports during Wednesday’s interview.

Earlier in December Lebanese Interior Minister Marwan Charbel confirmed that Mufti of Tripoli and North Lebanon has been warned by security forces that there are security threats against his life, which prompted him to leave the country.

“There is danger all over Lebanon, and the mufti is among a list of people whose lives are threatened, so we warned him and we will take all the preventive measures when he returns to the country,” Charbel told New TV on December 6.

Mufti Shaar is closely associated with former PM Saad Hariri who has been outside the country for more than a year for security reasons.

Tension in Lebanon escalated following the assassination on October 19 of Lebanese Internal Security intelligence chief Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hassan, who was also closely associated with Hariri. Syria and Hezbollah were accused of being behind Hassan’s murder.

The current cabinet in Lebanon is dominated by the Iranian and Syrian backed Hezbollah militant group which is supporting Syrian president Bashar al Assad in his crackdown against the uprising . Over 44,000 have been killed in Syria so far since the uprising began on March 15, 2011