Eight killed, including intelligence chief in Beirut blast

A prominent Lebanese security official is among the dead in a car bombing in the capital Beirut that has killed at least eight people and wounded up to 80 others.

Wissam al-Hassan, intelligence chief of the Internal Security Forces (ISF), was the brain behind uncovering a recent bomb plot that led to the arrest of Michel Samaha, a Lebanese politician close to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has been accused of trying to help smuggle explosives into Lebanon.

The ISF was also deeply involved in seeking the arrest of those responsible for a host of attacks and assassinations between 2005 and 2008, starting with the murder of Rafik al-Hariri.

Former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri accused Syrian president Assad of orchestrating the assassination of Hassan.

Hassan was the brains behind uncovering a bomb plot that led to the arrest and indictment in August of former Lebanese minister Michel Samaha, an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, in a setback for Damascus and its Lebanese allies including Hezbollah.

It is the first major bomb attack in Beirut since 2008. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet.

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati said the government was trying to identify the perpetrators and that they would be punished.

Source: Agencies

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