DNA test results confirmed on Friday that the deadly bombing that targeted the Hezbollah stronghold in Beirut’s southern suburb of Dhahieh was reportedly carried out by a suicide bomber who hailed from Wadi Khaled in northern district of Akkar, National News Agency reported on Friday
Earlier, reports indicated that the ID of a 19-year-old Lebanese University student named Qutaiba al-Satem was found near the bombing site in Haret Hreik district.
LBCI TV reported that al-Satem is a student at the LU’s Tripoli campus, left his parents’ house along with his cousin on December 30.
His father, the Imam of a mosque in Wadi Khaled, reported them missing the next day, LBC I said.
Speaking to reporters in Haret Hreik, caretaker Interior Minister Marwan Charbel said Satem’s father had informed the security services that his son had gone missing on December 30.
The Lebanese army has been questioning his father.
The mayor of Wadi Khaled, Noureddine al-Ahmed confirmed to AFP that the suspect’s father was contacted for questioning by the army intelligence
“The father of young Qutaiba al-Satem has been called in by the army intelligence branch in the area, because his 19-year-old son is believed to have detonated himself yesterday in southern Beirut,” he said.
The Mayor said the suspicions over Satem’s alleged role were based on the finding of a personal ID at the scene of the blast, in the busy Al-Arid Street in Haret Hreik.
Al-Satem family condemned the Haret Hreik bombing after news broke Friday that the explosion could have been carried out by Qutaiba.
It called for a transparent investigation and said it rejected any assault on any Lebanese citizen.
“My polite, reasonable son would not do that! That’s impossible!” his mother cried.
Satem’s family and other Wadi Khaled tribe elders and tribal chiefs published a statement saying: “The culture of Wadi Khaled is not blood-thirsty. It is a culture of moderation, forgiveness and peaceful co-existence.”
The families also said Satem “does not belong to any political or religious party, and he was preparing to travel to France in order to continue his studies.”
They claimed he was kidnapped by Hezbollah on December 30 at a checkpoint.
They also claimed that he does not have a driver’s license, does not know how to drive and is not familiar with Dhahieh area .
They also questioned the accusation against their son. If our son was a real terrorist would he carry with him his real ID ?
Wadi Khaled tribes said Qutaiba is “an engineering student, who loved music and intended to travel to France.”
They called on the security services to conduct a “fair and transparent” investigation.
Meanwhile, the army intelligence directorate freed Arsal residents Sami al-Hujairi and Mohammed Ezzedine, who had owned the Grand Cherokee in the past, after it turned out that they have nothing to do with the bomb attack.
Both men turned themselves in to the army on Thursday in the wake of the blast after their names were mentioned in media reports. Hujairi submitted documents that confirm that he had sold the vehicle months ago.
On Friday evening, Hezbullah’s TV station al-Manar broadcast a video showing how the booby-trapped Grand Cherokee exploded Thursday in the middle of a street in Haret Hreik.
As the metal barriers prevented the driver from parking the SUV on the side of the road, according to the TV network, the car suddenly exploded in a ball of fire, creating a big plume of smoke.
A number of citizens fleeing the scene also appear in the footage, which shows a school bus moving directly behind the explosives-rigged car.
Al Manar did not confirm the suicide bomber hypothesis, but it noted that this is the most likely scenario.