By Mohammed Zaatari
SARAFAND, Lebanon: Pro-regime Syrian politician Mohammad Jemo was shot dead inside his home in south Lebanon early Wednesday.
Security sources said Jemo, 44, was fatally shot at close range by an automatic assault rifle inside the sitting room on the ground floor of his three-story house in Sarafand.
They said the assailant/assailants fled the scene after the shooting which took place around 2:30 a.m.
Jemo, an outspoken supporter of Syrian President Bashar Assad, was shot 30 times from a distance of about 1 meter, according to the sources, who spoke to The Daily Star on condition of anonymity.
The sitting room was riddled with several bullet holes.
The sources said Jemo was carrying shopping bags from his car into the house when he was shot.
His Lebanese wife, Siham Younnis, was still by the car, carrying more bags from the trunk when the attack took place.
“I heard a lot of shooting, but I thought it was far,” Younnis told The Daily Star.
“But when I walked into the house I saw my husband lay dying in a pool of blood,” she said, sobbing.
Jemo’s daughter, 17-year-old Fatmeh, was sleeping in her bedroom at the time of the crime.
The sources said security forces have arrested at least two men – a Syrian and a Lebanese – following the incident.
They said the Syrian national was apprehended shortly after the shooting after he refused to stop at a military checkpoint, about 1 kilometer away from the victim’s house.
Police also confiscated his car, a Kia with a Syrian license plate.
The suspect said during a preliminary interrogation that he was carrying two Palestinian men to their workplace, according to the sources.
They said the Lebanese suspect was arrested while driving his car at the time of the murder.
The state-run Syrian news agency SANA said an “armed terrorist group” assassinated Jemo, describing him as head of the political and international relations in the Global Arab Expatriates Organization.