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Lebanon News

Daher says doubts Akkar resident behind Beirut blast

Future MP Khaled Daher attends a ceremony in Beirut, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)

BEIRUT: North Lebanon MP Khaled Daher Sunday voiced doubt that one of his constituents was the suicide bomber involved in the recent deadly bombing in the southern suburbs of Beirut.

“There are a lot of doubts [surrounding the bombing] ... [and given there are reports] the body of Satem was placed in the car,” the Akkar MP said, referring to Qotaiba Mohammad al-Satem who the Lebanese authorities identified as the suicide bomber behind the Jan. 2 attack in the southern suburbs of Beirut.

Satem, who hailed from Akkar, was identified from identification documents found among the debris of shops and cars destroyed in the bombing in the Haret Hreik neighborhood of the southern suburbs of Beirut that claimed the lives of four people. The attack also wounded more than 70 people.

“Officials are saying they knew about the car that exploded in Haret Hreik for days, the car had been roaming in the country and they knew about it, this makes one skeptical,” Daher said, speaking during a news conference from his residence in north Lebanon.

Daher, a Future Movement lawmaker and staunch supporter of the uprising in Syria, also blamed Hezbollah’s military intervention in Lebanon’s neighbor for the bombing in Haret Hreik.

“The Haret Hreik blast is a reaction to the practices of Hezbollah which is killing the Syrian people and Hezbollah is responsible for [causing] both bombings,” he said, referring to the Haret Hreik attack and the car bombing a month earlier in Downtown Beirut that killed former Minister Mohammad Shatah.

Daher warned that that the situation in Lebanon would deteriorate further if Hezbollah did not deviate from its course in Syria and end its military support to Syrian President Bashar Assad.

“Who opened the Syrian fire against Lebanon? The worse is yet to come if Hezbollah does not stop killing the Syrian people,” he said.

Daher, a staunch critic of the March 8 alliance, also claimed he was facing death threats, hinting that Hezbollah may be behind a campaign to intimidate the lawmaker.

“I received messages and phone calls including death threats from local and foreign numbers,” he said.

“The callers cursed me, my mother and family and even some of the [companions, disciples and family of the Prophet Mohammad],” he added.

The MP said he came to the conclusion he was the target of an intimidation campaign after trying several times to engage with those making the calls.

“I noticed that those calling me are experts in Lebanese and regional politics and I tried to communicate with them and noticed they aimed at intimidating me,” he said.

Daher said the intimidation would have no effect.

“I wasn’t intimidated by the bombings that carry messages [to the March 14 coalition]. You think that text messages and phone calls are going to stop me from speaking my mind?” he asked.

Daher warned that the intimidation, which he suggested Hezbollah may be involved in, needed to cease.

“They better stop such a cheap approach, particularly given that those making the calls seem to be Hezbollah [affiliates]” he said.

 

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