BEIRUT: The assassination Friday of Mohammad Shatah, former finance minister and a senior aide to former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, is the latest in a string of security incidents widely considered to be connected to the ongoing war in Syria.
Violence in Lebanon related to the Syrian civil war, raging now for more than two and a half years, began the summer of 2011, when clashes broke out in the northern city of Tripoli between neighborhoods backing Syria’s opposing forces. Since then, Tripoli has seen more than 18 rounds of clashes and a critical deterioration in the general security of the city.
Shatah’s killing was also the second assassination of a Lebanese public figure in as many years, after Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hassan, head of the Internal Security Forces’ Information Branch, was killed by a car bomb in Beirut’s Ashrafieh neighborhood in October 2012.
Oct. 19, 2012
A car bomb ripped through the streets of Ashrafieh killing Hassan, wounding dozens more and causing serious damage to cars and apartment buildings near the Sassine intersection. Hassan was integral in uncovering terroristplots allegedly orchestrated by former Minister Michel Samaha, an ally of Syria, and head of Syria’s Intelligence, Gen. Ali Mamlouk. After the explosion, many political leaders accused the Syrian regime of orchestrating the explosion, though Damascus denied involvement.
May 26, 2013
Two rockets launched from the Druze village of Aitat shortly before 7 a.m. hit a car dealership near Mar Mikhael Church and a residential building in the southern Beirut suburb of Shiyah, wounding four Syrians.
June 21, 2013
A rocket launched overnight from a town northeast of the Lebanese capital hit a high-tension electricity cable in Aley, southeast of Beirut. The blast knocked out the cable that supplied 150 kilowatts of energy from the Jamhour Power Station in Aley, causing several power outages. The Army located two rocket-launcher pads in the Mount Lebanon town of Ballouneh in Kesrouan.
July 9, 2013
A bomb planted under a parked vehicle exploded at 11 a.m. in a parking lot in the residential neighborhood of Bir al-Abed, leaving 53 wounded. In a statement on its Facebook page, “Brigade 313-Special Forces,” describing itself as “an independent military group fighting in Syria,” claimed responsibility for the attack, stating the cause as Hezbollah’s military intervention in Syria.
Aug. 1, 2013
Two rockets fired from an area near the town of Aramoun in Aley struck areas near the Presidential Palace in Baabda, east of Beirut. One landed in the swimming pool of a home in the area of Rihannieh. Another landed between the nearby town of Fayyadieh and the Baabda suburb of Yarze. No casualties were reported.
Aug. 15, 2013
A car bomb exploded in the southern Beirut suburb and Hezbollah stronghold of Ruwaiss during the evening rush hour, killing 30 people and wounding over 300. A group calling itself the “Regiment of Aisha, Mother of the Faithful” posted a video on YouTube claiming responsibility.
Aug. 23, 2013
Two car bombs exploded outside the Taqwa Mosque and the Salam Mosque in the northern city of Tripoli in the early afternoon, killing 45 people and wounding over 500.
Nov. 19, 2013
One suicide bomber on a motorcycle and another in a car set off explosions in Beirut’s southern suburb of Bir Hassan, both targeting the area outside the Iranian Embassy. The explosion killed at least 25 people, including the Iranian Cultural attaché to Lebanon Sheikh Ibrahim Ansari, and wounded 150 others. The Abdullah Azzam brigades, a Lebanon-based Al-Qaeda affiliate, claimed responsibility for the attack, and the two bombers were later identified by security forces as Mouin Abu Dahr, a Sidon resident from a mixed Shiite-Sunni family and Adnan Mousa Mohammad, a Palestinian from Bisarieh outside Sidon.
Dec. 27, 2013
A remotely detonated car bomb exploded around 9:40 a.m. in the heart of Downtown Beirut killing Shatah, 62, on his way to a meeting with the March 14 coalition. Security sources reported five others dead, including Shatah’s bodyguard Mohammad Tareq Badr, and around 70 people severely wounded by the blast. Shatah was a well-respected moderate of the Future movement, and previously held posts as Ambassador to the United States and at the International Monetary Fund. The explosion came only days before the start of an international trial of those convicted in the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who was killed just blocks from the Dec. 27 blast.