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Deadly Blast at Haret Hreik Leaves Neighborhood DevastatedTim King Salem-News.com
LBCI TV in Beirut reported that, "the group of the Palestinian Ahmed Taha has links to the suicide bombing." However reliable sources told Salem-News that this is not true, adding that no Palestinians were involved.
(SALEM / BEIRUT) - Naharnet Newsdesk in Beirut, reports that the booby-trapped Kia car that exploded Tuesday in Haret Hreik came from the Sabra Palestinian refugee camp in Beirut, on the outskirts of the southern suburbs.
Dr. Franklin Lamb, an international attorney and observer who lives in the area, adds that the car originated from an area near the Cola intersection leading to Fakhani, the former "Security Zone" of the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization) where one can catch a van ride to the Masnaa border crossing.
Dr. Lamb added that it is also where some low life types purchase vodka or beer to smuggle into the building Franklin lives in. He says they do it right under the eyes of the "morality police" aka Hezbollah.
LBCI television reports that the car traveled south down the airport road, and passed opposite the headquarters of Ghobairi Municipality. All 37 members of the Ghobairi council are Hezbollah members or affiliates, Dr. Lamb explains. The group has complete control of the council as well as the Sahel Hospital.
The man who drove the explosives-rigged car normally stopped at the army checkpoint in Ghobairi before continuing his journey, LBCI reports. The checkpoint we have learned, is manned by five soldiers from the Lebanese Army, not Hezbollah. The soldiers are known locally for failing to perform their duties, and passing cars through without checking.
Dr. Lamb said, "Mayne 90% of the cars are just waived through, obviously this is why the suicide driver chose this very porous route rather than the checkpoints near KFC and Cremino Patisserie. These are also manned by the army but Hezbollah guys are watching the army and sometimes intervene. I will sometimes get stopped by 'new' H guys who do not recognize me." He adds that he is never stopped or checked when passing through at Ghobairi.
The driver made his way from there to Haret Hreik, Naharnet Newsdesk reports, traveling slowly due to a local traffic jam.
After reaching Haret Hreik, the driver passed a media DVD shop on his right and Western Union on his left. He continued another 30 yards by the Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah Mosque (al-Hasanayn Mosque) turning right and traveling south for another 70 yards, until reaching the gas station on the right, where he turned left, passed Abeers travel agency, drove another 40 yards, and blew the car up in the middle of the road, outside the Sibai Center, on al-Arid Street, which Hezbollah calls Ahmad Qasir Street...
Legacy of Suicide Bombers
Dr. Lamb said, "Ironically, 17-year old Ahmad Qassir was the suicide bomber from Hezbollah who did the first major operation that killed 75 Zionist soldiers at their headquarters in Saida in 1982."
According to The Jerusalem Post and other sources, Qassir drove a Peugeot packed with explosives which he used to strike a seven-story building being used by the Israeli military.
The building was leveled in the explosion on 11 November 1982, 75 Israeli soldiers, border policemen, and Shin Bet agents were killed, along with a number of Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners.
LBCI reported that, "the group of the Palestinian Ahmed Taha has links to the suicide bombing."
However reliable sources told Salem-News that this is not true, adding that no Palestinians were involved.
Four people were killed in the explosion, and about 68 people were injured. It had only been a few weeks since the last street was the scene of a major explosion.
Promising Lives Terminated
Among those killed, were two young people familiar with Franklin Lamb. In yesterday's report, the tragic loss of Maria Jawhari and Ali Bashir added a heavy, personal tone to this story.
Dr. Lamb says two very lovely people he knew and cared about are gone, their chance to live out their promising lives, ripped away.
"It turn out that both Maria and Ali Bashir, who lived on the 5th floor of our building, were in the same coffee shop near the blast," he said.
"Maria was on her route to work in our building at a women's dress shop and Ali taking a break from his part time job at a shoe store. I got it wrong when I initially was told that Ali was en route to university where he studied engineering."
Both died in Bahman hospital 300 yards from the blast site shortly after being transported by H.
A few hours ago, Franklin Lamb observed a solemn scene, as people where he lives had their final contact with Ali.
"The ambulance just arrived with Ali's body 20 minutes ago from Bahman hospital and a cavalcade is forming to accompany him to his village near Khaim. I took photos ten minutes ago from our balcony. Deafening noise because maybe two dozen guys are firing AK's in the air."
Dr. Lamb says many women are wailing, "As you can imagine very intense emotions with his parents having to be essentially carried and put in the car behind the ambulance. People are beating themselves and also the side of the ambulance calling out to Ali "La! La!--don't go!" and not wanting the ambulance to move."
Others kissing the ambulance and photo-posters of Ali that are placed on most cars and shop windows, Lamb said. " I taped one to the windshield of the motorbike in solidarity with his family."
He added, "Such a lovely young man... most of the residents from our 12 floor building are going with the group south it appears. Ali was born in this building and spent his entirely life living on Abbas Mousawi Street. Ali did not seem all that political... more into sports; his mom is Sunni and his dad Shia...nice couple. I see them in the elevator or lobby but do not know them well..."
Many Hezbollah leaders, Dr. Lamb says, along with their whole parliamentary delegation and massive media, are outside his building, along with as many as 400 people in mourning.
The deadly blast has taken a toll, leaving a heavy psychological impact on this local neighborhood.
Alleged Thief of Explosive Laden Car Arrested
Naharnet Newsdesk reports that the man who stole the Kia used in the deadly attack, identified as Nabil Ahmed al-Moussawi, was also responsible for stealing a car that was used as a VBID (Vehicle borne improvised Device) in Bekaa's Hermel. He was arrested by Internal Security Forces last Tuesday.
Dr. Lamb reports that yesterday, 22 January 2014, security personnel investigating the bomb site discovered the explosives belt worn by the suicide bomber, but it had not exploded.
"Several security sources inside and outside Hezbollah, knowledgeable neighbors and investigators examining the 1/20/14 crime scene one block behind this observer's office and residence, are shedding light on how the operation was carried out and ‘what went wrong’ for its planners."
He says it is the second time in two weeks that a suicide belt was discovered near the scene of a major explosion.
"The first was recently in the Hermel bombing in the Bekaa Valley where Hezbollah has many supporters and several bases. One Hezbollah source told this observer that the plan in both attacks targeting Hezbollah was apparently to detonate the rigged car first followed by the suicide bomber detonating himself some minutes later in order to yield the highest possible number of victims. The plan evidently failed because either the driver panicked, was being confronted by security or thought he was, or the blast was detonated remotely and the timing was off."
Dr. Lamb says remote detonation is apparently preferred in these kinds of operations as it allows for better "quality control" should the suicide bomber have a last minute change of heart or start to park or drive erratically or in a manner that would draw the attention of nearby security forces.
"Once again, word is being passed throughout our neighborhood that when the next blast occurs, and more are widely expected, people should not go to the scene because there will very likely be a second blast." Dr. Lamb says it is a practice that has been widely used by Israeli Defence Forces in Lebanon over the past six decades and during aggressions committed against Gaza as well.
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