Lebanese Forces Investigate Explosion Targeting Hamas Official

Published January 16th, 2018 - 09:57 GMT
Lebanese security forces check a damaged vehicle following a car bomb blast in the southern Lebanese port city of Sidon on Jan. 14, 2018 (Mahmoud ZAYYAT / AFP)
Lebanese security forces check a damaged vehicle following a car bomb blast in the southern Lebanese port city of Sidon on Jan. 14, 2018 (Mahmoud ZAYYAT / AFP)

 

  • A Hamas official was the target of a planted bomb in Sidon
  • It was placed under the seat of his car
  • Lebanese investigators are analyzing surveillance footage
  • Some believed the official was involved in the shooting of a Rabbi in the West Bank

 

Investigators Tuesday analyzed footage from surveillance cameras in south Lebanon’s Sidon as the investigation into an explosion targeting Hamas Movement official Mohammad Hamdan entered its second day.

Lebanese security forces continued with their investigation into Sunday’s attempt to kill Hamdan, in which a bomb planted under the seat of his BMW, outside his Abu Sido building in Sidon’s Bustan al-Kabir, exploded. Hamdan was injured in the incident and is undergoing treatment at a Sidon hospital.

The Army removed a security cordon erected around the site, while the car was transferred to a military center for further forensic investigations.

The security forces have been looking at surveillance footage taken by cameras mounted on nearby buildings, shops and schools to help ascertain the events leading up to the explosion. Although no arrests have yet been made in the case, security agencies are also looking at who was living in the nearby buildings and who owned the shops in the area.

Sources said the investigators are also looking to access the telecoms data of some of the area’s residents.

Sunday’s incident broke the calm in the southern city of Sidon, and the questions of who targeted Hamdan, and why, remain.

Hamdan was not widely known as a Hamas figure in Lebanon prior to the incident, but sources in Sidon said he is believed to be in the group’s inner circle.

Palestinian sources said that Hamdan was involved in planning several actions in Israel and some believed he had been involved in the decision to green-light the recent shooting of Rabbi Raziel Shevach at the illegal West Bank settlement of Havat Gilad on Jan. 9.

 

 

His apparent connection to actions in Israel and his relative obscurity even among Hamas political officials led some Palestinian sources to question whether the Jewish state had been behind the attack.

“Israel wanted to send two messages from the incident: The first is for Hamas, saying that although Hamdan isn’t widely known among the movement’s leaders, he is known to Israel,” a source said.

“The other message is that there is an attempt to move the fight from Israel into Lebanon in an attempt to cause tension between Palestinians and Lebanon.”

Hamdan was lightly wounded in the attack and nearby buildings incurred material damage.

Sidon Mayor Mohammad Saudi headed to the site to survey the damage and announced that a municipal committee would be established to assess the damage caused by the attack and the steps that could be taken to compensate those affected.

Saudi was among those who contended that Israel’s intelligence agency Mossad was most likely behind the incident.

“The explosion destroyed the window glass, but everything can be fixed. Thank God my family is good,” Mohammad Ghaddar, a resident of one of the buildings affected, said.

Director of the nearby Al-Iman school, Kamel Kozbar, said that the roof of one of the school’s halls had collapsed after the explosion.

“We thank God that school was closed or else [students] would have been hurt,” Kozbar said. “We handed over the surveillance camera footage to the security agencies.”

 

This article has been adapted from its original source.


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