Who was behind Beirut bombing: Army identifies bomber

Who was behind Beirut bombing: Army identifies bomber
Fri Feb 21, 2014 07:56:28

The Lebanese Army has confirmed that a 22-year-old Palestinian was one of two suicide bombers who targeted the Iranian Cultural Center in a Beirut neighborhood the day before, as the death toll from the attack rose to 10.

The Army said in a Thursday statement that DNA tests conducted on the remains of one of the suicide bombers in the Bir Hasan neighborhood of Beirut showed he was Nidal al-Mghayer.

An investigation is underway to reveal the full details of the crime, the statement added.

The road at the blast site was partially reopened, while residents and shop owners began to clean up.

Quoting sources familiar with the investigation, media reports said Mghayer, a resident of the predominantly southern village of Bisarieh, had fought the Lebanese Army alongside fugitive Sheikh Ahmad al-Assir during last June’s battle in Abra, a suburb of Sidon. Assir, a staunch critic of Hezbollah, remains at large.

Abdel-Rahman al-Batwi, Anas Bahan, Ali Merhi, Mohammad Hamdan and Marwan Hamadeh, all friends of Mghayer, were also among Assir’s fighters in Abra.

The reports said Hamadeh could be the second suicide bomber, as he disappeared at the same time that Mghayer left to fight for Assir. Footage was circulated among media outlets Thursday showing Mghayer carrying an AK-47 in Syria’s Qalamoun region, where he is believed to have fought among Syrian militants.

But security sources said that there was no definite proof that Mghayer took part in the Abra battles or in any activity organized by Assir. However, they said Mghayer used to attend prayers led by Assir in Abra.

The Al-Qaeda-linked Abdullah Azzam Brigades claimed responsibility for the twin bombings Wednesday. It was the second such attack targeting Iranian interests in Lebanon, with the group saying the violence was retribution for the country’s support for Hezbollah, which is fighting alongside Syrian forces.

The group also claimed the Nov. 19 bombings of the Iranian Embassy, which is located in the same area.

BA/BA

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