BEIRUT: Authorities are trying to determine whether Mouin Abu Dahr, a Lebanese from the southern city of Sidon with links to a fugitive anti-Hezbollah Islamist preacher, is one of the two suicide bombers that attacked Iran’s Embassy in Beirut earlier this week, security sources said.
The Army also published Friday a notice for an unidentified man, the second this week, in a move sources said would hopefully help uncover the identity of the other suicide bomber.
The sources said Abu Dahr’s father, Adnan Abu Dahr, approached investigators at the Defense Ministry earlier Friday and identified a person in an Army notice posted Thursday as his son.
On Thursday, the Army sought the public’s help in identifying a man it described as “dangerous and wanted” for an unspecified crime. Media reports have linked the man in the photo in the notice to the probe with some describing him as the first suicide bomber.
The military published a similar notice Friday evening, urging citizens to contact the Army for any information on a second man it described as “dangerous and wanted for a crime,” in a move the sources said was aimed at narrowing the search for the other suicide bomber.
On Nov. 19, two suicide bombers – one wearing an explosive belt and the other driving a bomb-laden vehicle – attacked the Iranian Embassy in Bir Hasan, a predominantly Shiite neighborhood in south Beirut, killing over a dozen people and wounding more than 150. Among the killed were the embassy’s cultural adviser and four guards.
The Abdullah Azzam Brigades, a Lebanon-based Al-Qaeda affiliate, claimed responsibility for the attack, the latest in a string of deadly bombings linked to the conflict in Syria.
A security source told The Daily Star Thursday that investigators identified a Palestinian national as one of the two bombers involved in the embassy attack.
Security sources said Friday that investigators are now trying to compare DNA samples taken from Abu Dahr’s father with samples from the crime scene.
Mouin Adnan Abu Dahr, who hails from Sidon, had links to fugitive Shiekh Ahmad Assir, the sources said, and relatives of the 19-year-old told The Daily Star that he had contacted one of his parents earlier this week asking for forgiveness.
Assir, a staunch critic of Hezbollah and its military role in Syria, remains at large after deadly clashes in June between armed supporters of the Salafist preacher and the Army in the Sidon neighborhood of Abra.
One source said Army Intelligence managed to identify Abu Dahr in footage taken during the Abra events.
“However, Abu Dahr disappeared after that [Abra clashes],” the source said.
A number of Abu Dahr’s relatives who spoke on condition of anonymity said contact with the 19-year-old ceased after the June clashes but that earlier this week he telephoned one of his parents and asked for forgiveness.
Daher’s parents released a letter later Friday stating they would not talk to the press until the completion of the DNA analysis.
They said regardless of the findings that they denounce the suicide attack on the Iranian Embassy.
News of of Abu Dahr’s alleged involvement in the case caused tension in the coastal city.
Several of Assir’s supporters gathered late Friday outside the Dahr residence in the Sidon neighborhood of Bustan al-Kabir chanting “God protect you Sheikh Assir.”
However, the gathering was quickly dispersed by members of the Internal Security Forces.
Seventy-two individuals have been indicted over the June clashes in Abra.