BEIRUT

Lebanon News

Saudi bombers planned attack on Beirut restaurant

BEIRUT: A Saudi suicide bomber and his partner had planned to carry out an attack against a popular Hezbollah-affiliated restaurant in Beirut’s southern suburbs, a security source told The Daily Star Thursday.

The dead bomber and his partner were members of the radical group the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), while a Syrian man who helped the pair plan the attack was a member of Liwa al-Tawheed, an armed Al-Qaeda offshoot group in Syria, the source said.

“They all belong to organizations under the umbrella of Al-Qaeda [that aim] to spread chaos in Lebanon,” the source, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said.

The would-be Saudi bomber, Abdul-Rahman al-Shnifi, who suffered severe burns after his partner blew himself up to evade arrest during a raid on his hotel room, told interrogators that the pair planned to carry out a double suicide attack outside As-Saha restaurant.

One of the two was supposed to enter the restaurant and blow himself up. Seconds later, the other would do the same after people had gathered to help the wounded, in order to cause the most damage, the source said.

Twelve people were wounded in the 7:30 p.m. blast at the Duroy Hotel in the Beirut neighborhood of Raouche.

Shnifi, according to the source, said he and Abdul-Rahman al-Thawani – the partner who detonated an explosive belt, killing himself – had obtained the explosives from Lebanon and arrived in the country on June 11.

The two had stayed in a different hotel before coming to the Duroy Hotel, and they had made reservations at two separate hotels with checkout dates mid-July.

Investigators are seeking to determine whether the bombers had help from inside or outside the hotel, which gave Thawani time to put on the explosive belt.

Meanwhile, the Saudi Embassy in Beirut released a statement condemning the terrorist act that took place in Raouche late Wednesday, saying such actions have nothing to do with Muslim values but "represent an assault on the innocent and [the] holy."

The embassy congratulated the Lebanese government on its successes in pursuing terrorist cells, wishing Lebanon security, prosperity and stability.

CORRECTION

This story was corrected on June 28, 2014. 

The original headline mistakenly described As-Saha restaurant as a "Hezbollah restaurant." The restaurant is frequented by Hezbollah officials but is not owned by the party.

 
This article was amended on Saturday, June 28 2014

CORRECTION

This story was corrected on June 28, 2014. 

The original headline mistakenly described As-Saha restaurant as a "Hezbollah restaurant." The restaurant is frequented by Hezbollah officials but is not owned by the party.

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Summary

A Saudi suicide bomber and his partner had planned to carry out an attack against a popular Hezbollah-affiliated restaurant in Beirut's southern suburbs, a security source told The Daily Star Thursday.

The dead bomber and his partner were members of the radical group the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), while a Syrian man who helped the pair plan the attack was a member of Liwa al-Tawheed, an armed Al-Qaeda offshoot group in Syria, the source said.

The would-be Saudi bomber, Abdul-Rahman al-Shnifi, who suffered severe burns after his partner blew himself up to evade arrest during a raid on his hotel room, told interrogators that the pair planned to carry out a double suicide attack outside As-Saha restaurant.


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