Bomb explodes in Baabda

12Dec07

United Christians in Lebanon, out of fear of instinctionAt 6:58 am, a bomb exploded in Baabda, a town known to be heavily secured by the Lebanese National Army. Two people were found dead. Minutes after the explosion, the media stated that Brigadier General Francois el-Hajj and Khairallah Hadwan (Al Hajj’s bodyguard) have been the target of this assassination. Al-Hajj took a lead role in Nahr el Bared and holds close connections with Michel Sleiman, who was due to have his candidacy elected as president last night.Al-Hajj who was in line to become Lebanon’s next army chief after current commander, Gen. Michel Suleiman, takes over as Lebanon’s president.Given the intensity of the explosion and sophistication of the bomb, this assassination bears Syria’s fingerprints, or someone willing to frame Syria. Car bombs also are the Syrians’ tool of choice in dealing with Lebanese political players who do not conform to Syrian standards. What made al-Hajj unacceptable to Damascus is unclear at this point, but it is known that he led the army operations against Fatah al-Islam — an Islamist militant group organized by the Syrians — at the Nahr el-Bared camp over the summer. Syria has some plausible deniability in this killing, given that Fatah al-Islam militants would want revenge against al-Hajj.

Lebanese authorities arrested four suspects in connection with the assassination. Security sources said a man was arrested near the explosion site in Baabda shortly after 7:05 am. Lets hope the media doesn’t fade off the story of the capture of the suspects.