Beirut Bombing Kills Eight, Including Anti-Syrian Intelligence Official

Melissa Stusinski - Author
By

Aug. 17 2013, Updated 6:02 p.m. ET

A car bombing in Beirut has taken the life of a prominent Lebanese intelligence official opposed to the Syrian government along with seven others — a sign that Syria’s civil war is spilling into neighboring countries.

Wissiam al-Hassan, a Sunni Muslim who led an investigation that ultimately implicated Syria and Hezbollah in the assassination of Rafik al-Hariri, a former prime minister, is one of the eight people killed in the bombing Friday, reports Reuters.

The bombing in Beirut on Friday is the most serious to hit the Lebanese capital since the 2005 assassination of Hairiri. It prompted Sunni Muslims to take to the streets across the country and show sectarian anger by burning tires and blocking roads.

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Hairiri’s son, Saad al-Hariri, has accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of being behind Friday’s bombing, and Major General Ashraf Rifi, the head of Lebanon’s International Security Forces, stated that Hassan’s death was a “huge blow.” Rifi stated:

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“We’ve lost a central security pillar. Without a doubt, we have more sacrifices coming in the future. We know that, but we will not be broken.”

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The New York Times notes that Lebanese journalist Yorgo El-Bittar was one of the first people at the scene of Friday’s Beirut bombing. He shared updates and photos on Twitter Friday of the devastation that followed.

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Lebanon’s Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour spoke shortly after the shooting, saying that his Iranian counterpart, Ali Akbar Salehi, condemned the Beirut bombing that killed Wissiam al-Hassan and was planning to visit the Lebanese capital on Saturday. Iran is a powerful supporter of Syrian leader Assad, who is fighting a civil war being waged mostly by Sunni Muslim insurgents. More than 30,000 people have been killed since the uprising began in March of 2011.

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