Lebanon News

Majid remains to be repatriated to Saudi Arabia

This undated file picture shows who is believed to be the head of the Abdallah Azzam Brigades Majid al-Majid. (The Daily Star Photo)

BEIRUT: Lebanon will hand over the body of the leader of an Al-Qaeda-affiliated group after a committee of physicians confirmed that the Saudi national died of natural causes, acting State Prosecutor Samir Hammoud said Thursday.

Meanwhile, caretaker Interior Minister Marwan Charbel and Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Ghazanfar Roknabadi discussed the latest results of the investigation into the attacks against the Iranian embassy nearly two months ago, for which the dead leader’s group claimed responsibility for.

Speaking to the National News Agency, Hammoud said that the committee released its forensic report Thursday evening, corroborating an initial coronary report stating that Majid al-Majid had died due to a disease.

“The report was detailed and extensive and affirmed that the cause of death was illness and complications,” Hammoud said, adding that he would officially receive the report from the committee Friday.

“We will hand over the body to Majid’s family as soon as the legal measures are finalized, especially since we received via diplomatic channels a request by his brother for repatriation,” he added.

Wanted by the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Iran, Majid was head of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, an al-Qaeda-affiliated group which claimed responsibility for the Nov. 19 twin suicide bombings outside the Iranian Embassy in Beirut. The attack killed 30 people, including an Iranian diplomat.

The Army arrested Majid last month, but he died at a military hospital over the weekend before it had a chance to interrogate him.

Referring to the coronary report, caretaker Justice Minister Shakib Qortbawi has said Majid died due to kidney failure, lung problems and a viral infection.

But some Iranian officials said they were suspicious of the factors that led to Majid’s death, accusing Saudi Arabia of involvement.

This prompted Hammoud to form a six-member committee comprised of doctors and coroners which examined Majid’s medical records at Hamid Hospital in the Bekaa Valley and Beirut’s Al-Makassed Hospital as well as the Military Hospital in Badaro.

Roknabadi thanked Charbel and the Lebanese authorities for their efforts in revealing the identity of those behind the attacks.

He added Iran would continue to cooperate with Lebanon to reach a conclusion for the probe into the attacks.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on January 10, 2014, on page 1.




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