TRIPOLI, Lebanon: A homemade weapons manufacturer in north Lebanon was killed in a blast in his workshop Sunday while trying to make a machine gun for Syrian rebels, a Lebanese security official told AFP.
Marwan al-Qassab was working on a DShK heavy machine gun to be smuggled into Syria to support the insurgents when a blast rocked his workshop, the official said on condition of anonymity.
“Marwan al-Qassab had a small, illicit weapons factory in the town of Minieh,” 10 kilometers north of the coastal city of Tripoli, he added.
“Members of the security forces rushed to the scene, and found his body shredded by the blast.”
North Lebanon is home to many sympathizers of the revolt against President Bashar Assad.
Since the start of the uprising in Syria some 19 months ago, the rival neighborhoods of Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen have witnessed brutal rounds of fighting. While Bab al-Tabbaneh is largely sympathetic to Syrian rebels, Tripoli’s Alawite neighborhood of Jabal Mohsen is among the very few pro-Assad bastions in north Lebanon.
Lebanon is sharply divided into pro and anti-Damascus camps, with the March 14 parliamentary coalition bitterly opposed to Assad, and Hezbollah and its allies supporting his regime.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on October 29, 2012, on page 3.