A narrow escape
A suicide bomber in Lebanon has killed one person and wounded 37 others in a believed-to-be targeted attack on one of the country’s top military officials.
On Friday 20th June, the explosion at a security checkpoint in the West Asian country narrowly missed security official, Major General Abbas Ibrahim, who had warned that he may be targeted.
The bomb went off in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, near the Syrian border on the main highway between Beirut and Damascus, where Lebanese Sunni Muslim militants have recently been targeting the Syrian President’s allies.
President Bashar al-Assad has received support from the Shi’ite Muslim Hezbollah movement in the neighbouring country and last week’s attack is just the latest of many by the militant group.
Ibrahim had passed the checkpoint, where the bomber blew himself up in his car, just moments before and was just 200 metres away in his convoy when the explosion occurred.
“We miraculously escaped,” Ibrahim told Reuters, adding that many officials in Lebanon were being targeted by the reactivation of ‘terrorist sleeper cells’.
“But the security services are ready and on alert to stop them and we won't become another Iraq,” he said in reference to the fighting between Shi'ite and Sunni factions in Iraq, where Sunni militants have seized wide swathes of territory.
Ibrahim, a Shi’ite who is currently in charge of Lebanon’s Directorate of General Security also stated that security officials had told him Sunni militants were aiming to assassinate him.
“We were suspicious of the [bomber's] car when we were on our way and when the car stopped at the Dahr al-Baydar checkpoint, the explosion went off,” he said.
The one fatality was a police officer at the checkpoint. The wounded were mainly police, as well as civilians, in the area.
Later on Friday, security forces closed a number of roads in Beirut and Tripoli in anticipation of a security risk.