Syria: Israel behind Lebanon blast?

The Dec. 12 car-bomb assassination of Gen. Francois al-Hajj marks the first targeting of a Lebanese military figure since the current wave of terror began with the 2005 attack on former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Gen. al-Hajj, army chief of operations, was widely expected to become chief of staff if the incumbent, Gen. Michel Suleiman, is chosen as Lebanon’s next president. Three others were also killed in the morning rush-hour attack in the Beirut Christian suburb of Baabda. (The Guardian, Dec. 13; London Times, Dec. 12) Suspicion has of course fallen on Damascus, but Syrian statements condemning the attack have also implicated Israel. An unnamed Syrian intelligence source quoted by the official news agency SANA said: “Such an act was targeting the Lebanese military establishment and its hostile ideology to Israel.” Added SANA: “The source indicated that the beneficiary from this crime is Israel and its tools in Lebanon, in killing such a Lebanese national figure, who believed in the ideology of the Lebanese army, embraced the resistance, worked for unified Lebanon, and rejected division.” (AKI, Dec. 12)

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