Despite the fact that the Al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front quickly claimed responsibility in an online posting for the Tripoli twin suicide bombing that targeted the Omran cafe in the mostly Alawite neighborhood of Jabal Mohsen on Saturday , Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk said Sunday that preliminary information suggests that ISIL ( currently known as islamic state ) was behind the attack that left nine people dead and dozens wounded.
“Preliminary information indicates that ISIL is behind the explosion,” Machnouk said during a press conference held after a security meeting in Tripoli Sunday, stressing that the suicide bombers are members of [ISIL].
Last night the Lebanese Army identified the two suicide bombers as Taha Samir al-Khayal, 22, and Bilal Mohammad al-Mariyan, 29. Both were Lebanese.
According to Machnouk, the suicide bombers “might” have been tied to Monzer al-Hasan – a militants suspected to have been tied to other suicide bombings in the country. Hassan was killed when security forces raided his apartment in Tripoli last July.
Security forces had intelligence that Hassan provided explosive belts and material to a terrorist cell that was planning to carry out major attacks in Lebanon. Hassan is also suspected of being the main supplier of a Saudi suicide bomber who blew himself up in Beirut’s Duroy Hotel last June.
Hariri offers t pay for damages
Machnouk also revealed that he was contacted by former Prime Minister and Future Movement leader Saad Hariri who pledged to pay for the rehabilitation of the area damaged in Saturday’s explosions.
“This generous and patriotic move from Hariri serves to turn the page of the past and to move forward towards national consensus and support for the state,” Machnouk, , a key member of the Future Movement, said.
The minister stressed that the Lebanese can only combat terrorism if they were united and warned that the security situation will deteriorate in Lebanon due to the ongoing war in neighboring Syria.
Saturday’s suicide bombings came hours after Lebanon’s judiciary issued a new arrest warrant against the the leader of the Arab Democratic party (ADP ) MP Ali Eid after he did not show up for a hearing Saturday.
Eid , a key ally of Syrian president Bashar al Assad, fled to Syria with his son Rifaat last June.
Eid has been charged with aiding a suspect in a twin bombing that targeted the Al-Taqwa and Al-Salam mosques in Tripoli in August 2013 , killing 47 people and wounded dozens of others.
The Cafe that was targeted in the attack belonged to ADP , the main party representing the Alawite community in Lebanon.
The army detained on Sunday three people pending an investigation in links to the twin suicide bombing,National News Agency reported
The three have friendship links with the suicide bombers, NNA said.
The 3 were identified as Ali Kheireddine, Monzer Shamseine and Wael Afioni.
Lebanese security forces believe the bombers lived in Mankubeen, a majority Sunni neighborhood just 500 meters away from Jabal Mohsen.