BEIRUT: The trial of suspects in last summer’s twin car bombings in Tripoli drew closer Wednesday as Lebanon’s military prosecutor recommended indicting 21 individuals, members of a network that allegedly planned, executed and facilitated the attack.
Military prosecutor Saqr Saqr issued a legal opinion demanding the indictment of the 21 individuals.
The suspect list includes the Alawite leader of the pro-Assad Arab Democratic Party, former MP Ali Eid, who is accused of helping an individual linked to the attack flee from Lebanon.
The prospect of Eid’s arrest has previously inflamed passions in Tripoli, the scene of repeated clashes linked to the war in Syria.
Saqr’s conclusions have been referred to Military Investigative Judge Riad Abu Ghayda.
Abu Ghayda now has to study Saqr’s recommendation and issue an indictment, which will pave the way for a public military trial.
Two car bombs were detonated in Tripoli in August outside the Al-Salam and Al-Taqwa mosques during Friday prayers. The twin attacks killed 47 and wounded hundreds.
Violence has repeatedly erupted in Tripoli between the majority-Sunni neighborhood of Bab al-Tabbaneh and the predominantly Alawite Jabal Mohsen, where Eid’s ADP is headquartered.
Eid’s arrest is a key demand for the anti-Assad faction in Tripoli.
Saqr recommended charging 16 individuals with crimes including committing a terrorist act, complicity in terrorism, homicide, incitement and vandalism.
Saqr recommended charging four individuals, including Eid, with helping fugitives flee from justice.
Saqr also asked that Hashem Minqara, a Tripoli-based preacher, be indicted for failing to warn the authorities about the attack.
Minqara, who heads the Tawhid Movement, a pro-Assad Islamist group, was detained last year over suspicions that he had foreknowledge of the attacks. He denied the accusation in a news conference last year after his release.
A judicial source told The Daily Star that Abu Ghayda is likely to issue an indictment in the case by the middle of next week.
Seven individuals have so far been arrested in the case.
The seven include Sheikh Ahmad al-Gharib, Mustafa Houri, and ADP member Youssef Diab, who is accused of carrying out the Al-Salam Mosque bombing.
The other individuals who have been arrested include Ahmad Ali, Eid’s driver.
Arrest warrants have also been issued against Eid and ADP member Ahmad Merhi, who is accused of responsibility for the Al-Taqwa Mosque bombing.
Soukeina Ismail, a Syrian citizen, is charged with helping smuggle in the two vehicles used in the bombing from Syria to the neighborhood of Jabal Mohsen.
Arrest warrants in absentia were also issued against two Syrian intelligence officers accused of complicity in the attacks.