3 Lebanese and 2 Syrians indicted in Tripoli bombings


tripoli explosionGovernment Commissioner to the Military Court Judge Saqr Saqr on Friday indicted five suspects in the twin car bombings that rocked the northern city of Tripoli last Friday ; Three Lebanese and two Syrian nationals.

Head of the Islamic Unification Movement (IUM) Sheikh Hashem Minkara, his assistant Sheikh Ahmed al-Gharib and informer Mustafa Houri were charged with forming an armed gang , a terrorist cell along with planting explosive devices and car bombs in front of the two Tripoli mosques and of undermining the authority of the state.

Saqr also charged Syrian army Captain Mohammad Ali and another Syrian national, Khoder al-Arban, with murder and planting car bombs.

Menqara was also charged with withholding information concerning the execution of this operation from the security authorities.

The five were referred to the first military magistrate.

Houri is reportedly the police informer who contacted Internal Security Forces Intelligence Bureau claiming that he has important information over a Sheikh from Tripoli who is planning to target Future Movement MP Khaled Daher , former Internal Security Forces commander General Ashraf Rifi and Salafist cleric Sheikh Salem al-Rafei .

Sheikh Gharib reportedly failed a lie detection test over his alleged link to that blasts.

Gharib who was interrogated over the Aug. 23 car bombings revealed that the explosions were “directly planned by Syrian intelligence,” according to security sources .

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

Gharib, according to reports, was tasked by Sheikh Minqara to coordinate with the Syrian regime the latest developments. Gharib has reportedly been visiting Syria frequently recently.

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea linked ex-minister Michel Samaha to the attacks

“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.

According to Lebanese security sources, when asked why he would do such a thing, the former minister replied, “This is what Bashar wants.” In a possible reference to the embattled Syrian president Bashar al Assad.

The Islamic Unification Movement (IUM) which was established in Tripoli in 1982 and that has been seeking ways to unite the Sunnis and Shi’ites has allegedly enjoyed since the mid-1980s close political ties with Iran, Syria and Hezbollah. Sheikh Shaaban one of the top leaders of IUM reportedly visits Tehran frequently and is considered doctrinally a follower of Ayatollah Khomeini.

Forty-five people were killed and at least 900 wounded in the Tripoli bombings that targeted the two Sunni mosques; Al-Taqwa Mosque in the city’s Al-Zahiriya area and the Al-Salam Mosque in the Al-Mina neighborhood as worshipers were performing Friday prayers.