Naharnet

Picture of Suicide Vests Provider Circulated, Bombers Sought to Target al-Saha Restaurant

The General Security agency on Thursday circulated the picture of a Lebanese man accused of providing the Duroy Hotel bombers with explosives, as media reports said the two attackers wanted to target al-Saha Restaurant in Dahieh.

“Following the authorization of the relevant judicial authorities, the General Security circulated the picture of al-Monzer Khaldoun al-Hasan, who was born in 1990 in Akkar's Bizbina to a mother who hails from (Syria's) Aleppo,” state-run National News Agency reported.

The man “is suspected of having provided the cell that was raided at the Duroy Hotel (in Raouche) with suicide vests and explosives,” NNA quoted the security agency as saying.

“He has the Swedish nationality (and a passport) with the name of 'Monzer Al HASSAN' and he has been driving two cars – an old beige Nissan and a gray Mercedes manufactured in 2005,” the General Security said, noting that “these two cars may be booby-trapped.”

LBCI television said the man was arrested based on the confessions of the Saudi would-be suicide bomber who survived Wednesday's blast and who was captured by the General Security.

“The arrested would-be suicide bomber told interrogators that he and his companion had intended to target al-Saha Restaurant near the Great Prophet Mosque in Beirut's southern suburbs," LBCI reported.

According to al-Akhbar newspaper, General Security agents overnight raided al-Saha Hotel in Dahieh in search for suspects who might have checked into the hotel.

For its part, As Safir newspaper said “the cell yesterday received an order to carry out a double suicide attack through bombers wearing suicide vests against one of the biggest restaurants in Beirut which is part of a large hotel.”

The daily said the attack was supposed to take place during peak time when customers would be watching one of the World Cup matches.

Later on Thursday, OTV said two brothers of Monzer had carried out a suicide attack in Syria last year.

LBCI said the attack targeted the Crac des Chevaliers citadel in Homs province.

The General Security reportedly began monitoring the terrorist cell that was busted in Duroy Hotel in Beirut's Raouche area a week before raiding it.

According to As Safir, the General Security investigations proved the group had links to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

On Wednesday afternoon, a Saudi man blew himself up at the Hotel Duroy as security forces stormed his room, killing himself and wounding several others.

An accomplice of the suicide bomber who was also in the room survived the blast but was severely injured. A third person is on the run.

The security raid followed the arrest last Friday in a hotel in the nearby Hamra district of the capital of a Frenchman of Comoran origin on suspicion of plotting to carry out suicide bombings in Lebanon on behalf of the ISIL.

On Monday, a suicide bomber blew up a vehicle near an army checkpoint and a cafe just after midnight in the Tayyouneh area on Dahieh's peripheries. The bombing killed one person and wounded 20.

Another bombing in eastern Lebanon last week killed a police officer and wounded several others.

Y.R.

S.D.B.


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