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Beirut intelligence official assassinated in car bomb

QuestCin.com

October 19, 2012

—A prominent Lebanese security official is among the dead in a car bombing in the capital Beirut that has killed at least eight people and wounded up to 80 others.

Wissam al-Hassan, intelligence chief of the Internal Security Forces (ISF), was the brain behind uncovering a recent bomb plot that led to the arrest of Michel Samaha, a Lebanese politician close to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has been accused of trying to help smuggle explosives into Lebanon.

The ISF was also deeply involved in seeking the arrest of those responsible for a host of attacks and assassinations between 2005 and 2008, starting with the murder of Rafik al-Hariri.

Friday’s rush-hour car bombing has raised fears of renewed sectarian violence in a country still scarred from a long civil war. Hassan was seen as close to Saad Hariri, leader of the March 14 alliance and a son of the slain former prime minister.

When asked who was responsible for the killing, Saad Hariri, a former Lebanese prime minister himself, replied: “Bashar Hafez al-Assad.”

“Who killed Wissam al-Hassan is as clear as day. Certainly the Lebanese people will not be silent over this heinous crime and I, Saad Hariri, promise that I will not be silent,”

Al Jazeera’s Rula Amin, reporting from Beirut, said that the exact details of how the explosion killed Hassan were still unclear.

“Wissam al-Hassan is a very prominent figure in Lebanon. He played a key role in pursuing the killers of Rafiq al-Hariri, and one of his most recent achievements is the capturing and arrest of Michel Samaha,” she said.

“He is a very controversial figure for the March 8 alliance. He was a key figure in supporting the armed opposition in Syria, and the March 14 alliance is going to take this explosion much more seriously.

“This killing will stir a lot of tensions.”…(Aljazeera)

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