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Lebanon identifies suspected suicide bomber

The suspect is identified as Palestinian Nidal al-Mghaye from South Lebanon

Published: Updated:

Lebanese authorities have identified one of the suicide bombers behind this week’s twin bombings in the Bir Hasan neighborhood of the Lebanese capital Beirut.

Lebanon’s National News Agency identified one of the bombers as Palestinian Nidal al-Mghayer, who hails from Baysariyeh in the southern city of Tyre.

The two suicide car bombings in Bir Hasan Wednesday targeted the Iranian Cultural Center and were claimed by the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, an Al-Qaeda-linked group that has warned of further attacks until Hezbollah withdraws its fighters from Lebanon’s neighbor Syria.

The NNA said a fake id with Mghayer’s photograph was found at the scene of the crime and that the Palestinian was a supporter of fugitive Salafist sheikh Ahmad Assir.

Assir, a staunch opponent of Hezbollah and Syria’s Bashar Assad, was behind last year’s deadly ambush on an Army checkpoint in the southern city of Sidon. The Army retaliated and ensuing clashes led to the killing of at least 18 soldiers and dozens of Assir’s gunmen.

The release of the photograph sparked anger in Baysariyeh, Mghayer’s village in Tyre and the NNA said a number of unidentified assailants set fire to Mghayer’s residence. A car parked at the estate was also set on fire, the agency said.

There are reports the second bomber also hails from Baysariyeh.

Lebanese media said Mghayer’s father, Hisham, approached authorities to help in the probe after the Lebanese Army posted a notice with a picture of his son. The notice described the suspect as a “dangerous” fugitive.

Lebanon has seen a wave of bombings linked to the crisis in Syria.

Also Wednesday, the military said in a statement that a wanted man identified Zuheir Mrad was arrested in Burj Hammound, in the Greater Beirut area, as part of an Army Intelligence probe. The statement did not indicate whether his arrest was linked to the twin bombings.