A suicide bomber killed one person and wounded 37 in an attack at a security checkpoint in Lebanon on Friday that narrowly missed a top security official who said he had been told Islamist militants wanted to assassinate him.
The explosion occurred in the country’s Bekaa Valley near the Syrian border, an area where Lebanese Sunni Muslim militants opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have been targeting his key Lebanese ally, the Shiite Muslim Hezbollah movement.
The security official, Major General Abbas Ibrahim, said he passed through the checkpoint on the main highway between Beirut and Damascus minutes before the bomber blew himself up, just 200 meters (yards) away from his convoy.
“We miraculously escaped,” Ibrahim told Reuters, adding that many officials in Lebanon were being targeted by the reactivation of “terrorist sleeper cells.”
“But the security services are ready and on alert to stop them and we won't become another Iraq,” he said in reference to the fighting between Shiite and Sunni factions in Iraq, where Sunni militants have seized wide swathes of territory.
Ibrahim, a Shiite who heads Lebanon’s Directorate of General Security (DGS), said security officials had information that Sunni militants were aiming to assassinate him.
“We were suspicious of the (bomber’s) car when we were on our way and when the car stopped at the Dahr al-Baydar checkpoint, the explosion went off,” he said.
The dead man was a police officer at the checkpoint. The wounded were mainly police, as well as civilians, in the area.
Later on Friday, security forces closed a number of roads in Beirut and Tripoli in anticipation of a security risk.
نستخدم ملفات الكوكيز لنسهل عليك استخدام مواقعنا الإلكترونية ونكيف المحتوى والإعلانات وفقا لمتطلباتك واحتياجاتك الخاصة، لتوفير ميزات وسائل التواصل الاجتماعية ولتحليل حركة المرور لدينا...اعرف أكثر