Lebanon concerned by home-grown terrorism

Lebanon concerned by home-grown terrorism
Mon Nov 25, 2013 08:41:59

Concerns have raised high in Lebanon over home-grown terrorism, marked by a deadly terrorist attack near Iranian embassy in Beirut.

The Lebanese Daily Star wrote in a report on Monday that threat of terrorism is felt more in Lebanon as news emerged that “the men who carried out twin suicide bombings last week at the Iranian embassy were a Lebanese citizen and a Palestinian resident with links to militant preacher Ahmad al-Assir”.

“It means you don’t need to recruit a suicide bomber from outside Lebanon and bring him into the country where the territory is unfamiliar,” Qassem Qassir, a political analyst was quoted by the paper.

On Nov. 19, a man wearing an explosives belt blew himself up outside the gate of Iran’s embassy in Beirut. Minutes later, a second man detonated an explosives-laden vehicle meters away. The attacks killed 25 people and wounded more than 150.

The Abdullah Azzam Brigades, a Lebanon-based Al-Qaeda affiliate, claimed responsibility. A Lebanese man and a Palestinian resident with links to extremist cleric Assir were identified as the perpetrators.

Qassir said the choice of a Lebanese and a Palestinian resident to carry out the operation carried major significance, showing that the country has entered a “new phase” in terms of the type of operation and the use of local recruits.

Suicide bombers are much harder to stop because they simply need to reach the target to detonate their bombs, as opposed to a car bomb that may be discovered before it explodes, he said.

And having local recruits willing to carry out such attacks means they are likely to increase, particularly as the regional tension have intensifies and Syria descends further into violence, he said.

Qassir said that Assir’s group may have had a role in planning and executing the attack, but that they likely had foreign backers.

“Whoever carries out such an operation surely has capabilities and information that is beyond Assir’s group,” he said, adding that the choice of the Iranian embassy in particular would have involved targeting and planning efforts that would go beyond Assir’s resources and carries a broader political message.

Qassir did not discount possible Israeli culpability, saying that the Israel regime’s intelligence services had the capability of penetrating extremist groups and pushing them toward carrying out such an attack with the belief that it was to the benefit of religious causes.


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