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Army Major Nemr’s killing adds to a series of unexplained murders in Lebanon

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Lebanese Army Major Jad Nemr’s killing is added to a list of recent unexplained assassinations and murders in Lebanon, with speculation suggesting the crimes are linked to the Beirut Port explosion, money laundering or cross-border smuggling.

Nemr was killed in his house in Ballouneh on Mount Lebanon. Nemr was serving in the Lebanese Army's Border Regiment to prevent smuggling and illegal entry and exit. Security data indicated that Army Major Jad Nemr was shot in the forehead, eliminating the hypothesis of suicide.

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Lokman Slim

A memorial ceremony for slain prominent Lebanese activist Lokman Slim (image), in the capital Beirut's southern suburbs, on February 11, 2021.  (AFP)
A memorial ceremony for slain prominent Lebanese activist Lokman Slim (image), in the capital Beirut's southern suburbs, on February 11, 2021. (AFP)

Last month, the security forces in Lebanon found the body of prominent Hezbollah critic Lokman Slim shot to death after he went missing the previous day in the country's southern region.

His body was transported to a hospital in Sidon where a forensic coroner said the activist had received four bullets to the head and one to his back, according to Lebanon's National News Agency (NNA).

Colonel Skaf and Colonel Abou Rjeily

On December 20, 2020, a retired customs officer, Mounir Abu Rjeily, was found killed, but although the case was investigated, and raised questions about similar murder when Colonal Joseph Skaf was killed three years previously, no conclusion was made.

After the Beirut port explosion, a leaked document showed that Skaf was the first to warn of the danger of the storage of ammonium nitrate at the site.

Antoine Daher

On June 4, 2020, Antoine Daher was found dead in the parking garage of his home in Hazmieh. Dagher was a Group Ethics and Fraud Risk Manager at Byblos Bank.

According to the National News Agency (NNA), he was hit in the head with a sharp tool that fractured his skull. Dagher, who was in his 60s, died instantly.

People close to the victim stated that he “was working on sensitive files by virtue of his position in the bank.”

Joseph Bejjani

On December 21 2020, Joseph Bejjani was found dead in his car in front of his house in Kahala, a security zone where many military centers and the Ministry of Defense are located. Kahala is also in an area close to the presidential palace.

Bejjani worked for the telecommunications company “Alfa” and was also a photographer approved by the Army Command, but according to close associates, he did not work as a photographer, but rather photography was a hobby. The sources also confirmed that Bejjani did not receive a salary from the army.

Media circulated information saying that Bejjani had pictures that he gave to the French investigation team covering Beirut's port explosion.

However, his family later denounced those claims and added that he worked for the army command occasionally and had good relations with its officers. He would have passed any sensitive photographs he had to Army Command, and not the French.

Antoine al-Hayek

In March of 2020, Antoine al-Hayek was killed inside his small market in the town of Miyeh, on the outskirts of Sidon, in southern Lebanon.

The National News Agency reported that Hayek was killed on the spot as a result of being shot in the head.

Al-Hayek was one of Amer al-Fakhoury's assistants in the Khiam detention camp during the Israeli occupation of Lebanon. Lebanese officials accused al-Fakhoury of torturing prisoners in the 1990s at a prison run by the Israeli-backed South Lebanon Army.

Hayek's death came days after the military court in Lebanon acquitted al-Fakhoury, an American who was jailed for months in Lebanon. A US military helicopter transported Fakhoury from Washington's embassy in Beirut to Cyprus, and from there to the United States.

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