Lebanon News

Sources: Sayyed in Samaha's car during Syria-Lebanon bombs transport

This file picture shows Jamil Sayyed in the court room at the special international tribunal for Lebanon in Leidschendam January 14, 2011. REUTERS/Jerry Lampen

BEIRUT: Former General Security head Maj. Gen. Jamil al-Sayyed accompanied former MP Michel Samaha, who is being probed on terror charges, when he transported explosives from Syria to Lebanon, sources said Monday. Sayyed would not confirm or deny the report.

"We have put forward incriminating evidence that Jamil Sayyed was with Michel Samaha while he was transporting explosives [from Syria to Lebanon]," a high-ranking security source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Daily Star.

"The evidence was taken from a DNA sample that was analyzed after being taken from Samaha's vehicle, which was transporting 24 different explosives to be distributed in different areas in the north [of the country]," the source added.

Samaha, who is close to the Syrian government, has been charged with plotting to carry out terrorist attacks in the country, assassinations of religious and political figures. The accusations are also directed at the head of Syria’s Intelligence Gen. Ali Mamlouk and another Syrian army officer. Samaha was also charged with transporting explosives from Syrian into Lebanon.

In his confession to the Internal Security Forces Information Branch shortly after his arrest on Aug. 10, Samaha said Syrian President Bashar Assad wanted bomb attacks in Lebanon, according to security sources.

A judicial source, who also requested anonymity, told The Daily Star Monday that both the interrogation with Samaha and DNA tests of samples from the seats of the former minister’s car proved Sayyed was in the vehicle during the trip.

“Investigations with Samaha proved that the person who was with him while transporting explosives from Syria to Lebanon is retired Maj. Gen. Jamil Sayyed,” the source said.

“The judiciary has the prerogative to decide on the issue of Sayyed and measures to be taken against him,” the source added.

The military prosecutor referred the results to Investigative Judge Riyad Abu Ghida presiding over Samaha’s case.

Sayyed was among three other high-raking pro-Syrian Lebanese generals who were arrested in 2005 in connection with the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in a car bomb.

The four were released nearly four years later without charges or trial.

Speaking to The Daily Star, Sayyed would not confirm or deny the reports.

He slammed Internal Security Forces chief Brig. Gen. Ashraf Rifi and Information Branch head Brig. Gen. Wissam Hasan, saying the two were behind the reports and were trying to implicate him in the Samaha case.

“This is the fourth time they [Rifi and Hasan] have tried to drag my name into the Samaha case,” he said.

“The judge who is looking into the case has clear information about the case. Therefore, I will not respond to leaks from Rifi and Hasan,” he said, adding that the “leaks” were meant to be exploited politically.

“Whether I was with Samaha in his car or not, I am not denying or confirming it but I don’t think Samaha’s car would fit two donkeys,” he said. – With additional reporting by Mirella Hodeib and Youssef Diab





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