A senior militant recently detained by the Lebanese army was involved in the assassination of Minister Mohammed Shatah, the transfer of suicide bombers who killed dozens of people, in addition to several other terror offenses, media reports said on Thursday.
“Mahmoud Ahmed Abu Abbas was arrested in (the Bekaa town of) Majdal Anjar before being immediately transferred to the defense ministry building,” al-Mayadeen television reported.
It said he was involved in the 2013 assassination of Minister Mohammed Shatah in a central Beirut car bombing.
Military sources informed on the investigations told al-Mayadeen that “the car used in Shatah’s assassination came from the Ain el-Hilweh camp,” noting that Abdullah Azzam Brigades leader “Majed al-Majed was arrested four days after the assassination.”
Majed was reportedly the mastermind of the deadly twin suicide bombing that targeted the Iranian embassy in Beirut in November 2013. The Lebanese army announced in January that Majed, a Saudi militant, had died of illness at the central military hospital in Beirut after being arrested on December 26, 2013. The Abdullah Azzam Brigades are controlled by Saudi Arabia, as pointed out by Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah in an OTV interview last year.
On Thursday evening, al-Manar television announced that the detainee Abu Abbas had transported “more than one booby-trapped car” from the outskirts of the Bekaa border town of Arsal to areas inside Lebanon.
He was also behind sending the bomb-laden car that exploded prematurely at the Dahr al-Baydar checkpoint before reaching its supposed destination in Beirut’s southern suburbs, al-Manar said.
Abu Abbas also confirmed that the Abu Assaf Cafe in Tayyouneh — where dozens of football fans were watching a World Cup match in June — was the target of the car bomb that exploded several meters away from the popular coffee shop.
Earlier on Thursday, al-Akhbar newspaper said the Army Intelligence captured Abu Abbas in an “ambush” around a week ago, describing him as a “hefty catch.”
It said the prominent militant leader hails from the eastern Bekaa town of Majdal Anjar.
The newspaper said that the detainee confessed that he transported the suicide bomber of Dahr al-Baydar and Beirut’s Tayyouneh roundabout in June.
Sources said that the suspect is the right hand of Sirajeddine Zureiqat, a so-called spokesman of the Qaida-linked Abdullah Azzam Brigades.
The detainee also provided a residence for Iraqi woman Saja al-Dulaimi, who was identified as a divorcee of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Al-Dulaimi was arrested at a checkpoint on al-Madfoun Bridge in the North, along with her Palestinian husband and 8-year-old Hajar, her daughter from al-Baghdadi. The arrest took place last month and was kept a secret until the media put it out to public.
Abu Abbas also confessed to moving fighters between Majdal Anjar, Arsal, the northern city of Tripoli and the southern town of Shebaa.
He also said that he handed money over to Shadi al-Mawlawi, a fugitive Islamist militant, several times.