Syria behind twin blasts in north Lebanon, report


sketch of a suspect in Tripoli bombingA suspect in custody over last week’s deadly car bombings in north Lebanon has confessed that Syrian intelligence was behind the attacks, according to a security source and the Lebanese police released a sketch of a man who is wanted in the bombing of the Al-Taqwa Mosque.

At least 42 people were killed and 900 injured in twin explosions in Sunni-dominated Tripoli on Friday.

The explosions took place outside the Al-Taqwa Mosque in the city’s Al-Zahiriya area and the Al-Salam Mosque in the Al-Mina neighborhood.

Sheikh Ahmad Gharib, one of two suspects being interrogated in the Aug. 23 car bombs outside the Al-Taqwa and Al-Salam mosques in Tripoli, north Lebanon, revealed that the explosions were “directly planned by Syrian intelligence,” according to the source .

Gharib, after several hours of interrogation, also said he had prior knowledge of the attacks and their planning, the added.

Gharib’s arrest Saturday was due to his appearance in a surveillance video taken near Al-Salam Mosque at the time of the blast. Police are also questioning Sheikh Abdel-Razzak Hammoud in the case.

Gharib, according to reports, was tasked by the head of the Islamic Unification Movement (IUM) Sheikh Hashem Minqara to coordinate with the Syrian regime the latest developments. Gharib has reportedly been recently visiting Syria frequently .

The police urged citizens to provide authorities with any information about the suspect ( shown in the sketch above ) and his location by calling the hotline 1788, adding that informants would remain anonymous.

The Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea commented yesterday on the twin car bombing attacks that targeted the northern city of Tripoli last week, saying that he did not believe that the perpetrators were the same ones who placed the car bomb in Beirut’s Dahieh a week before.

“I think the investigations should take the ex-minister Michel Samaha case as a reference point.”

On August 9 of last year, Lebanese security forces arrested Samaha, who has close ties with Syria’s embattled regime, for smuggling weapons into Lebanon in a bid to foment terrorism.