BEIRUT: The Lebanese Army released a photo Tuesday of a man suspected of being the suicide bomber behind last week’s attack against an Army checkpoint in northeast Lebanon, as separate funerals were held for the two soldiers killed in the attack.
The military published the man’s picture saying he was "wanted for dangerous crimes," and urged anyone with information to call 1701, use the LAF shield mobile application or contact the nearest military base.
A security source said the picture belonged to the suspected suicide bomber who detonated an explosive-rigged black Grand Cherokee at the entrance of the northeastern town of Hermel Saturday.
The bombing killed Army officer Elias Khoury, soldier Hamzeh Faitruny and Mohammad Ayyoub, a civilian, and wounded 17 other people.
The Nusra Front in Lebanon, an offshoot of the radical rebel group in Syria, claimed responsibility for the bombing, citing Hezbollah’s role in the war-torn country. Hermel is one of several areas in Lebanon associated with Hezbollah.
Meanwhile, families of 25-year-old Khoury in the eastern town of Zahle and Faitruny, 26, in Baalbek held funerals for the victims.
During the funeral mass of Khoury, a representative of Army Commander Gen. Jean Kahwagi said the officer’s career in the military was of great value, saying his "martyrdom" was an honor to every soldier.
Dressed in black and weeping uncontrollably, Khoury’s relatives carried his coffin which was covered with the Lebanese flag to the cemetery.
In a statement, the Nusra Front in Lebanon said Monday Hezbollah had made the Lebanese Army a target by enlisting its protection and asking it to turn a blind eye to the party's role in Syria.
The militants also called on the country’s “rational” citizens to stay out of its war with Hezbollah.
The Al-Qaeda-linked group has claimed responsibility for three other bombings this year in areas where Hezbollah enjoys wide support, including Beirut’s southern suburbs.