Voices in Lebanon have grown louder in accusing Israel of being behind a bombing attack in central Beirut last week that killed eight people, including a top-ranking intelligence official.
Hezbollah has remained remarkably quiet following the assassination of Wissam Hassan, Lebanon’s chief of internal security, in the Ashrafiyah neighborhood of Beirut on Friday.
But the Shiite party’s political and media associates have claimed that Israel had a vested interest in eliminating Hassan, who had exposed Israeli espionage in Lebanon.
Lebanon’s prime minister and other high-ranking officials have placed blame for the bombing on Syria and its proxy Hezbollah.
Lebanon’s pro-Syrian Nidhal party, led by Druze leader Faysal Daoud, issued a press statement Monday in which it said that “the treacherous hands of the Israeli enemy” stood behind the attack, since Israel was “the only party interested in destroying Lebanon and harming its social unity.”
As-Safir, a leading Lebanese daily associated with Hezbollah, on Monday quoted unnamed security sources who analyzed the specifics of the car bomb which killed Hassan and seven others in Beirut.
One security official told the daily that he “could not rule out Israeli involvement in the crime,” noting that Hassan had succeeded in exposing 25 Israeli spy cells in Lebanon.” Hassan had also informed Syria of 17 Israeli collaborators within the ranks of the military, the source told As-Safir.
Hassan was involved in a number of investigations that implicated Syrians, including a probe that recently led to the arrest of former information minister Michel Samaha, one of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s most loyal allies in Lebanon.
Hassan also played a role in the investigation of the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri with a massive truck bomb. An international tribunal set up to investigate the assassination implicated Hezbollah in the attack.
The Special Tribunal for Lebanon issued four arrest warrants for senior members of Hezbollah in June 2011, but the men were never extradited by the Lebanese government, of which Hezbollah is a member.
Hezbollah, for its part, has accused Israel of assassinating Hariri.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.