A senior Syrian oppositionist claimed on Tuesday that Egypt’s former chief of intelligence, who died in mysterious circumstances in July, was actually killed in the massive Damascus explosion which hit Syria’s security leadership.
Haitham Maleh, chairman of the Syrian National Coalition’s board of trustees, told the independent Egyptian daily Al-Watan that he had proof that Omar Suleiman, who also served as Hosni Mubarak’s vice president, was present at the Syrian national security building targeted by a massive explosion on July 18.
The official report claimed that Suleiman, 76, died while undergoing medical tests in a Cleveland hospital, but his aide said that he was not in failing health, setting off a wave of rumors in Egypt as to the true cause of death.
Four Syrian officials were killed in the Damascus bombing, including defense minister Dawoud Rajha and Bashar Assad’s brother-in-law, Assef Shawkat.
According to Maleh, Suleiman was sent to Damascus by the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Muhammad bin Rashed Al-Maktum, to discuss the issue of Syria’s chemical weapons. Maleh said he had conclusive proof, including eyewitnesses, attesting to Suleiman’s presence in the building.
Maleh claimed that in addition to Suleiman, senior representatives of the intelligence agencies of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United States and even Israel were present in the building. He added that Suleiman was initially treated for serious injuries in a local hospital, but was then transferred to the United States, where he died.
Maleh, 81, repeated his claims in a phone conversation on the “90 Minutes” program broadcast on Egypt’s Mihwar TV station. In the interview Maleh sounded less confident, saying “he could not confirm the reports 100%.”
No Egyptian official has commented on Maleh’s claims.