One Killed, 20 Injured in Tayyouneh Blast as Mashnouq Says Situation 'Under Control'إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Speculation encircled the bombing that targeted an army checkpoint at the entrance of Beirut's southern suburbs as Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq insisted that the security situation in Lebanon is “under control.”
An army communique said on Tuesday that a suicide bomber in a white Mercedes-Benz 300 model, carrying license plate J/3247784, detonated himself on an army checkpoint on Tayyouneh roundabout.
“The explosion wounded several people and the whereabouts of a General Security member remain unknown,” the statement said.
The army cordoned off the area and experts arrived swiftly at the scene of the explosion, which happened at 11:40 pm Monday.
“The car was rigged with 25 kilograms of explosives,” the communique added.
Media reports said that that DNA tests carried out on human remains that were discovered at the scene belong to General Security member Abdul Karim Hodroj.
As Safir newspaper reported earlier that in one of the scenarios two General Security members felt suspicious of the car after the driver got out of it in the middle of the road, which prompted Hodroj to point his gun at the driver who detonated the car immediately.
Hussein Haidar, who was reportedly said to be the owner of the car, denied in comments to Voice of Lebanon radio (93.3) the news.
“My car was parked next to the car that exploded... I am not the owner of the Mercedes,” he pointed out.
As Safir newspaper had reported on Tuesday morning that a 1961 Mercedes-Benz 180 that exploded is owned by Hussein M. H., who hails from the southern town of Jwaya, carrying a license plate with the number W/144631.
A witness told the daily that ahead of the explosion the driver got out of the car after he turned off the ignition in the middle of the street, claiming that it broke down.
Another witness, who was on a motorcycle, passed near the Mercedes-Benz and asked the driver why he was blocking the road, who in turn claimed that the key broke.
The witness said that the driver, who seemed confused, is in his thirties and has a light beard.
The National News Agency reported that a white Mercedes car was traveling fast on the wrong side of the road before exploding.
The car bombing, which killed one person and wounded around 20 others, came three days after a suicide attack in the east of the country which left one person dead and 30 wounded. The attack was the first inside Lebanon since March.
“The attack indicates that the suicide bomber was confused, which is a sign that the security situation is under control,” Mashnouq said in comments to As Safir newspaper.
The minister said that all the “security measures taken by the security and military agencies prompted the car to travel in the wrong direction, similar to Dahr al-Baydar's bombing.”
Later on Tuesday, Mashnouq held talks with Speaker Nabih Berri in Ain al-Tineh.
"The priority now is for security and the readiness of security forces led to the failure of the two suicide attacks," the minister said.
"I extend my condolences to the family of the General Security martyr," he added.
"I discussed the security plan with Speaker Berri and I support his viewpoint on the need to reactivate the work of institutions, whose paralysis is paralyzing the entire republic," Mashnouq went on to say.
As Safir newspaper that the bomber improvised a random attack that didn't follow the same routine as the previous suicide attacks that targeted Dahiyeh area, which is a Hizbullah stronghold.
Most of these were claimed by Sunni extremists who blamed Hizbullah for sending thousands of fighters into Syria to support President Bashar Assad's regime in neighboring Syria.
The newspaper said that human remains reached the fourth floor of one of the buildings in the area.