A bombing rocked a Dahr al-Baydar checkpoint in the eastern Bekaa on Friday, killing at least one person and wounding 32 others amid reports that the blast aimed at targeting General Security chief Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim.
Voice of Lebanon radio (100.5) reported that a suicide bomber blew himself up in a vehicle near an Internal Security Forces checkpoint.
The National News Agency said ISF's Chief Warrant Officer Mahmoud Jamaleddine was martyred in the blast, adding that 34 others were injured.
"The body of Jamaleddine was transferred to a hospital in Shtaura," it noted.
Head of the Red Cross George Kattaneh confirmed that a member of the ISF was killed and the Ministry of Health announced that 32 others were wounded in the blast.
But the ISF said later in a statement that 33 people were actually injured, remarking that among them were 7 security forces.
The ISF detailed in the communique on the last hours leading to the blast: “A gray Nissan Murano car was found suspicious in the Sawfar region (northeast of Beirut) while on its way to Bhamdoun, and when security forces tried to stop it, its driver drove away and headed back towards the Bekaa.”
The patrol immediately notified the Dahr al-Baydar checkpoint of the car's characteristics, the communique remarked.
"When the suspicious car reached the checkpoint, troops ordered its driver to get off.”
He then blew the car up, the statement said.
The ISF also confirmed the death of Chief Warrant Officer Jamaleddine in the blast.
The identity card of Arsal resident Tareq Lutfi al-Jebbawi was found at the scene, LBCI reported.
Hours later, the military institution circulated the picture of a “dangerous fugitive accused of committing a certain crime.”
It urged whoever recognizes the man in the photo to contact the Army Operations Center on the number 1701, to notify the nearest military center, or use the smart phone application LAF Shield.
The ISF also circulated a picture of the suicide bomber who blew up the car in Dahr al-Baydar at the request of State Commissioner to the Military Court Judge Saqr Saqr.
"We ask citizens who have any information about the bomber to call the ISF Intelligence bureau's hotline 1788, to dial 01425277, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org,” a statement said, noting that the identity of any citizen who comes forward with information will remain secret according to the laws.
A security source pointed out that it is probable that the suicide bomber was a Syrian national, according to MTV.
Following an exceptional security meeting at the Grand Serail, Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq revealed that a young man who spoke with the suicide bomber on the old Sawfar road to the northeast of Beirut said that he was Syrian.
“The investigation will lead to a serious outcome,” he confirmed.
Meanwhile, LBCI revealed that Maj. Gen. Ibrahim had crossed the area shortly before the bombing.
"I was on the road to the Bekaa, and the explosion happened when I was just 200 meters away," Ibrahim told LBCI.
He said he was unharmed but refused to say whether he thought he was the target of the attack.
"The whole of Lebanon is a target," Ibrahim said, adding he "constantly" receives threats, and those he has received recently have been particularly "worrying".
Friday's blast was the first to hit the country since March.
"Our war against terrorism has not ended, and we are all under threat," Ibrahim warned.
Before Friday's blast, the security forces raided two hotels in the Beirut neighborhood of Hamra and detained at least 17 people.
Ibrahim confirmed the raids and the blast were linked, without elaborating.
He also said the latest blast was linked to a Sunni militant and jihadist offensive in Iraq in which the Baghdad government has lost control of chunks of the country.
"The Interior Minister has already said that what is happening in Iraq will have a catastrophic impact on Lebanon... and this is true. We are preparing ourselves for such a phase," Ibrahim told LBCI.
"What happens in any country in the region will necessarily impact the whole of the region," he added.
Late in the evening, the Free Sunnis of Baalbek Brigade claimed the bombing.
"The target that we failed to reach today will be targeted later on," it said on its account on social media website Twitter.
Following the incident on Friday, the ISF General-Directorate urged citizens to refrain from taking the Dahr al-Baydar road “until investigation concludes at the site of the explosion.”
Judge Saqr later ordered the reopening of the road after evidence was collected, asking forensic doctor Fouad Ayoub to conduct DNA tests on the remains of the suicide bomber.
Civil Defense teams were meanwhile combating a small blaze that broke out at the scene.
The NNA said 7 cars were damaged in the explosion.
Friday's bombing comes in light of reports obtained by security agencies on Friday on possible terrorist acts on Lebanese territories.
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