Syrian intelligence officer amongst those charged over Tripoli bombings

Published August 30th, 2013 - 01:11 GMT
LEBANON, Tripoli : People perform the Friday prayer on August 31, 2013, inside Al-Salam mosque that was targeted with a car bomb a week ago in the northern Lebanese port city of Tripoli. AFP PHOTO STR
LEBANON, Tripoli : People perform the Friday prayer on August 31, 2013, inside Al-Salam mosque that was targeted with a car bomb a week ago in the northern Lebanese port city of Tripoli. AFP PHOTO STR

BEIRUT: Lebanon charged five people Friday, including one Syrian intelligence officer and two sheikhs, over the twin Tripoli bombings that killed 47 people last week.

Military Prosecutor Saqr Saqr filed charges against sheikhs Ahmad Gharib and Hashem Minqara as well as informant Mustafa Houri, a judicial source said.

The source said Saqr charged two Syrians, including an intelligence officer, in absentia. The Syrian suspects were identified as Capt. Mohammad Ali Ali, an officer in the Syrian Intelligence, and Khodr Lutfi al-Airouni.

Saqr charged Gharib and Houri in his court documents with tasking the two Syrians to set up a “monitor and planning cell to carry out terrorist acts in Lebanon, particularly in the north, by preparing bombs and booby trapping cars and putting them in specific areas, including religious institutions with the aim of killing and assassinating political and religious figures.”

The two Syrians were charged with “rigging two cars with explosives and placing them, through the help of other individuals, outside Al-Taqwa and Al-Salam mosques in Tripoli that left hundreds killed or wounded.”

At least 47 people were killed and 500 wounded in the dual car bombings last week in front of two mosques.

Minqara, the head of a pro-Assad Islamist group in Lebanon who was detained by police for interrogation Thursday, was charged with withholding information about the Tripoli cell’s terrorist activities.

Gharib was known to be a close associate with Minqara while Houri, who worked with Gharib, tipped the police off about the bombing plot before it occurred. Saqr questioned the motives of Houri in tipping off police and decided to charge him with the same crimes as Gharib. Houri is also known for having close ties to Syrian intelligence.

If convicted, the suspects face the death penalty.

Saqr referred the suspects and the case to Military Investigative Judge Riad Abu Ghayda, requesting further questioning and arrest warrants against the five men, the judicial source said.




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