Lebanon News

Army releases photo of suspected suicide bomber

A photo of a "dangerous" wanted man is released by the Lebanese Army Monday, Mar. 3, 2014. (The Daily Star/Lebanese Army Website, HO)

BEIRUT: The Lebanese Army Monday released a photo of a man suspected of having links to the wave of suicide bombings recently witnessed in Lebanon.

In a statement, the Army called the suspect, who was not identified, as a “dangerous wanted” man.

The photo shows a young, curly haired man, sporting a beard and wearing a military-style jacket over a turtleneck sweater.

Speaking to The Daily Star, an Army source said the man could be one of two suicide bombers responsible for the attack targeting the Iranian Cultural Center in the neighborhood of Bir Hasan, south of Beirut, last month.

The source said the suspect could have also been the bomber in one of three suicide attacks that rocked the Bekaa Valley town of Hermel in January and February.

The military establishment urged anyone with information on the suspect to contact the Lebanese Army by dialing 1701, use the LAF Shield mobile phone application or contact the nearest military base.

Later Monday, the National News Agency reported that Lebanese Army soldiers detained a number of wanted individuals in a raid that targeted the Shreidi residential complex in the Jabal al-Beddawi area near the Beddawi Palestinian refugee camp in north Lebanon. The complex is home to dozens of Syrian refugee families.

A Lebanese Army patrol also chased a jeep that had left the complex and later detained the passengers, the NNA said.

The Army source said the detainees were suspected of having opened fire on Lebanese Army soldiers and Internal Security Forces personnel previously. The NNA also said that soldiers had arrested an individual who threw a hand grenade at the security patrol.

Separately, Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk personally supervised the closure of two centers where gas canisters are refilled in Bir Hasan and the nearby district of Ouzai after authorities received reports over the weekend that the facilities could be targeted by suicide bombers. Workers in both facilities opposed the move, saying shutting down the centers would deprive them of their main source of income.

After the tour, Machnouk returned to his office with Amin Musalli and Jamal Aoun, representatives of the two facilities. During their meeting, the three agreed to draw up a plan for the refilling and distributing of gas canisters in order to prevent shortages in supply.

In a separate development, First Military Investigative Judge Fadi Sawan interrogated four detainees in the case of Naim Abbas, a leading figure in the Al-Qaeda-linked Abdullah Azzam Brigades who was arrested in Beirut last month.

Sawan had issued arrest warrants for the four based on charges against them by the military prosecutor’s office.

Meanwhile, Abbas and detainee Joumana Hmeid’s lawyer filed a request with Sawan for charges against his two clients to be dropped. Sawan will look into the request before deciding whether to question Abbas and Hmeid.

Abbas is charged in connection with two suicide bombings in the Beirut suburb of Haret Hreik on Jan. 2 and Jan. 21.

He has also been charged for belonging to an armed group, plotting terror attacks in Lebanon and forging identification papers.

Hmeid was detained by Lebanese Army Intelligence personnel on Feb. 12 while driving a rigged car on the Arsal-Labweh road in the Bekaa Valley. Her arrest was made possible by Abbas’ confession.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on March 04, 2014, on page 3.




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