BEIRUT: Suspects charged with firing rockets that hit a power line in Aley in June confessed Monday to belonging to a Syrian rebel group and that the projectiles they launched had been intended for the Hezbollah-controlled southern suburbs of Beirut, a judicial source said.
The source told The Daily Star all seven suspects in custody – five Syrians and two Lebanese – made the confessions Monday before Military Judge Fadi Sawwan.
The suspects confessed that both rockets in the June operation were aimed at the Beirut southern suburbs, but that one diverted off course and hit a high-tension electricity cable in Aley that supplied 150 kilowatts of electricity from the Jamhour power station.
They attributed the failure to a technical error and said the second rocket failed to launch.
The Lebanese Army at the time disabled the second rocket.
The suspects told Sawwan that the rocket attack was in response to Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah’s speech in which he took pride in the fall of the Syrian border town of Qussair and his insistence on fighting alongside Syrian regime forces, the source said.
He said the suspects confessed to belonging to the Tal Kalakh Martyrs’ Battalion, a contingent of the Free Syrian Army that is being financed by a Syrian man living in Turkey.
Tal Kalakh is a Lebanese town near the border with Syria.
The suspects, according to the source, also confessed that later on they tried to fire four rockets from Aramoun into the Hezbollah-controlled southern suburbs, but again the operation failed due to a technical error.
The source identified the suspects as Syrians Mohammad Jamal Ismail, head of the Tal Kalakh Martyrs’ Battalion, and his brother Ammar Jamal Ismail, as well as Syrian nationals Mohammad Abdel-Karim al-Dibs, Hashem Ismail Kanj and Mohammad Bashar Mdawwar.
The Lebanese suspects were identified as Bassam K. and Abdel-Jabbar D.
The judicial source said Army Intelligence arrested Sunday the father of Mohammad and Ammar, Jamal Mustafa Ismail, on charges of belonging to the same terror cell.
The source said Ismail, who is still in military custody, will be referred to Sawwan for interrogation.
In all, 14 individuals have been charged in the rocket attack case. Seven other Syrian and Lebanese suspects remain at large.
Military Prosecutor Saqr Saqr charged all 14 with belonging to an “armed terrorist organization with the aim to carry out terrorist acts.”
He also charged them with buying and preparing explosive materials as well as firing rockets. They could face the death penalty if convicted.