The arrest of Naim Abbas, who confessed to his involvement in several bomb plots in Lebanon, remains a hot topic as details about his involvement gradually emerge.
Abbas had for a long time been under surveillance by the Lebanese Armed Forces Intelligence Directorate, a security source close to the investigations told NOW, which tracked him down to his apartment in Tariq al-Jedideh. When Abbas left his home and walked to his car, LAF intelligence operatives arrested him and found him carrying a fake ID bearing the name of Ali Z.
The source explained that security personnel asked Abbas about his real name, after which he confirmed his ID was a fake. Abbas was then led to the LAF intelligence headquarters in Beirut to undergo investigations.
While being questioned, Abbas told investigators that a black Toyota RAV4 SUV packed with 100 kg of explosives was parked in a Corniche al-Mazraa lot and was rigged to explode in the Al-Manar TV building in Bir Hassan. However, it was not fully wired yet. LAF troops rushed to the location, blocked the street, and defused the car bomb.
The investigating officer promised Abbas that he would not be personally harmed and that he would be dealt with fairly, according to the security source. Abbas, reassured, confessed to the existence of a weapons warehouse in Saadiyat and gave LAF troops the key, asking them to raid it. When asked about the warehouse location, Abbas requested a laptop to pinpoint the location on Google Maps. Servicemen went to the area and found six rockets and some ammunitions and explosives in the warehouse.
Investigating officers, the security source told NOW, promised Abbas that they would do their best to prevent anyone from harming his family. In return, he requested one of his phones to aid the investigation. He called a woman, asked her whether the “delivery” was still on, which she promptly confirmed. Abbas then asked her where he would meet her, and she said “KFC [restaurant] in Aley.” He told her, “Call me once you reach Chtaura” and hung up.
Afterwards, he asked the officers to give him another one of his phones, and Abbas called a second woman from another number to tell her that everything was going on as planned and to ask her what kind of car she was driving. She told him it was a silver-colored Kia Rio. Abbas hung up and gave the officers the information that allowed them to track it down near Arsal. The car was apprehended on the road between Arsal and Labweh and the driver, Joumana Hmayed, arrested. It bore a fake license plate, no. 121127/G, and was fitted with 104 kg of explosives.
Further into the investigation, Abbas admitted that he had detonated the first Bir al-Abed explosion by leaving the car abandoned in a parking lot, and that he was behind the rocket launch from the Bsaba region toward Dahiyeh. He also admitted that he had brought suicide bombers into Lebanon recently and that he had headed to Yabrud, a Syrian city which had a center for fitting cars with explosives and equipping suicide bombers. He remained in Majdel Anjar for a night before heading to Arsal and Yabrud, and later returned to Lebanon.
Abbas told investigators that he had the IDs of all suicide bombers who undertook attacks he planned, and revealed that the Choueifat suicide bomber was a Syrian national. Abbas confessed to preparing for a rocket launch on Dahiyeh during the Annual Commemoration of Martyred Leaders, which coincided with a speech by Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.
Abbas never interfered with suicide bombers blowing themselves up: his interference would cause them to lose the opportunity to dine with the Prophet, he told investigators.
The security source told NOW that Abbas’ arrest prevented several blasts, and it blocked the direct path used to channel the booby-trapped cars from Yabrud to Arsal, as the planners reasoned that it had now been exposed by security services. Accordingly, they will now be forced to take the cars from Yabrud to the Arsal highlands and from there to the Masharie al-Qaa. This was indeed the case with the latest car that exploded on the LAF checkpoint in Hermel.
The source went on to say that Abbas confessed to having met with arrested Sheikh Omar al-Atrash, albeit without prior knowledge of his identity. Atrash had, in turn, admitted that he had facilitated the smuggling of suicide bombers and explosive-packed cars between Lebanon and Syria using border crossings in the Arsal area.
This article is a translation of the original Arabic.