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Lebanon News

DNA shows mismatch for suspect in Hermel bombing

Lebanese army soldiers and policemen gather at the site of a car bomb explosion at a stronghold of Lebanon's Hezbollah group, in the center of the predominantly Shiite town of Hermel, northeast of lebanon, which is about 10 miles (16 kilometers) from the Syrian border, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014. (AP Photo)

BEIRUT: DNA samples taken from the mother of a Sidon resident who the Lebanese Army suspects of involvement in the Hermel bombing earlier this week did not match remains found in the crime scene, a high-ranking security source told The Daily Star Saturday.

The Army took DNA samples from Aziza Eid, a resident of the coastal city of Sidon and the mother of Hussein Ghandour, after her son was suspected of carrying out the car bombing attack in Hermel.

Aziza’s DNA did not match any of the remains found at the site of the explosion, the source said.

In a statement, the Lebanese Army said investigation revealed that Hussein Abdel-Nasser Ghandour, also known as Ghazzawi, has "no role in the Hermel bombing contrary to what some media outlets reported."

A car bomb ripped through a bustling neighborhood in the northeastern town of Hermel Thursday, killing five people and wounding 42 others.

Although Nusra Front in Lebanon claimed the Hermel blast which it said was a suicide attack, investigators are still looking into whether the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber.

Caretaker Interior Minister Marwan Charbel has said that strong evidence indicated that it was a suicide bombing.

Hermel, where Hezbollah enjoys broad support, has also been a target of rocket attacks mostly claimed by Syrian rebels in retaliation to the resistance group’s military involvement in the Syrian conflict.

Security source told The Daily Star Friday said that Ghandour, 23, had pledged allegiance to fugitive firebrand Sheikh Ahmad Assir. They added that Ghandour, a Shiite, might have converted to Sunni Islam.

The sources said that Ghandour had left Sidon shortly after Assir’s disappearance last June, following deadly clashes between the Army and gunmen loyal to Assir in the Abra suburb of the city.

 

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