HEAD OF INTERNAL SECURITY IN LEBANON ELIMINATED
* Wissam al-Hassan, Intelligence chief of the Internal Security Forces (ISF), 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 on friday 10/19/2012.
Wissam al-Hassan 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 Assad, who has been accused, in early 08/2012, of trying to help smuggle explosives into Lebanon to be used against anti-Syrian elements in 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 Rafiq Hariri (see – UN-STL).
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 former prime minister, himself a former PM and a leading member in the anti-Syrian block in Lebanon (see – Hariri’s Cabinet).
“Wissam al-Hassan is a very prominent figure in Lebanon. He played a key role in pursuing the killers of Rafiq Hariri, and one of his most recent achievements is the capturing and arrest of Michel Samaha.
The explosion has occurred at a time of heightened tension between Lebanese factions on opposite sides of the conflict in neighbouring Syria. The explosion struck a street where the office of the Christian Phalange Party is located near Sassine Square. Phalange leader Sami al-Gemayel, a staunch opponent of Assad and a member of Lebanon’s parliament, condemned the attack.
Commentators said that already there were fears that the bombing meant the Syrian crisis had spilled over into Lebanon. Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN-Arab envoy peace to Syria, warned two days ago that you cannot expect the Syrian crisis to remain within Syrian borders (see -SYRIAN DILEMA).
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