Lebanon to hand Saudi Qaeda man’s body to embassy, judiciary says

Majid al-Majed was suspected to be head of the group who claimed responsibility for the Iranian embassy attack in Beirut

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A Lebanese judicial official on Friday ordered the body of a Saudi suspected of leading an Al-Qaeda-linked group handed to the Saudi embassy, a week after his death in custody.

“The body of Majid al-Majid will be handed to the embassy of Saudi Arabia, and will then be repatriated,” prosecutor Samir Hammoud, who ordered the handover, told AFP.

Majid was the suspected head of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, which claimed responsibility for a November attack on the Iranian embassy in Beirut that killed 25 people.

He died last week, days after his detention by the Lebanese military.

A judicial source told AFP on condition of anonymity that Majid suffered from kidney disease and was in poor health when he was detained.

Saudi Arabia welcomed Majid’s capture, while the Iranian embassy in Beirut requested access to Lebanon’s investigation into the double suicide bombing.

The embassy attack came amid rising tensions in Lebanon over the role of the Iran-backed Shiite movement Hezbollah in the war in neighboring Syria.

Hezbollah has sent fighters to support President Bashar al-Assad’s regime against the Sunni-dominated rebels, who are backed by most Lebanese Sunnis.

In claiming the embassy bombing, brigades member Sirajeddin Zreikat threatened more attacks in Lebanon until Hezbollah ends its intervention.

In 2009, Lebanon handed Majid a life sentence in absentia after convicting him of membership of another Al-Qaeda-inspired group, Fatah al-Islam.

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