Exclusive sources told LBCI that the explosion that rocked the Achrafieh area Friday afternoon targeted and killed ISF Information Branch General Wissam Hassan.
, who was in charge of a top intelligence unit, was the brain behind uncovering a recent bomb plot that led to the arrest of a pro-Syrian Lebanese politician.
In this context Lebanese Premiere Najib Mikati declared tomorrow as a national day of mourning.
Consequently armed gunmen took to the streets in several Lebanese areas including Sidon, Akkar's Bireh area. Burning tires blocked the roads Arab University road, Cola and Chtoura international road. Clashes also reerrupted between Jabal Mohsen, Bab el Tebbaneh area.
Earlier, Minister of Interior Marwan Charbel, Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn, MP Michel Pharaon, and Minister of Telecommunication Nicholas Sehnaoui had arrived to the scene of the explosion in Sassine Square alongside Government Commissioner to the Military Court Saqr Saqr and Attorney General Judge Hatem Madi.
The reasons of the explosion remained mysterious up until the announcement of Hassan's death, however some reports stated that a road side car bomb was the source of the detonation.
has been diverted in the area to another direction for fears of after-blasts.
Thick smoke rose from the site of the
explosion with surrounding buildings sustaining severe damage. According to VDL, human body parts were seen scattered on the roads. Ambulances arrived to the scene and transferred the wounded.
Reuters sources reported that 8 people fell dead and dozens were wounded. Hotel Dieu announced that the number of the wounded is rising, reaching 78 so far. For the list of the names available so far please scroll down to the bottom of the article.
According to the head of operations of the Lebanese Red Cross George Kettani, 106 were wounded but no confirmation was made on the number of the dead.
According to Health Minister Ali Hassan Khalil, 3 dead and 94 injured were reported so far. Khalil described the incident as "a crime that targets all Lebanese people who are urged to solidarity and unity."
The casualties were transferred to the following hospitals: Hotel Dieu, Rizk, Lebanese Canadian, St. George (Roum).
The explosion is said to have occurred 200 meters away from the Kataeb political bureau.
In this context, MP Sami Gemayel told LBCI that Achrafieh is a symbol. "This attack targets our essence," he exclaimed.
Gemayel voiced his condolences to the parents of victims that resulted from the explosion at Sassine and stressed that the Kataeb party awaits the results of the investigations before giving out statements. "Now is not a time for politics now is the time for prayer," Gemayel stated.
Gemayel assured that all members of his family are safe and sound, adding that Nadim Gemayel is currently abroad.
For his part, MP Nadim Gemayel stated that it is obvious that "this was a preplanned political explosion and aims at lighting a sectarian spark in the country in light of a crumbling regime in Syria." He also urged Lebanese citizens to donate blood for the explosion's victims.
Minister Nicholas Sehnaoui stated that mobile transmission stations to increase
communication signals at the site of the blast were sent. He also urged for unity and
MP Michel Pharoun
described the explosion as a message targeting the Achrafieh area; for its
representation of Lebanese unity and solidarity. He called for making Saturday a day of National Mourning.
Through his facebook page, MP Sleiman Frangieh stated that all parties
should isolate the Sassine blast from any political biddings.
"We pray for the swift recovery of all the victims and patience for the victims relatives," he added.
Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri called for swift action on
the part of the security apparatuses for the protection of the Lebanese people
Meanwhile, the Former Deputy Prime Minister Issam Abou Jamra stated that
all the victims were civilians urging a swift response from security
In this context the Lebanese government held a security meeting at 6:30pm at the Grand Serail, and announced that an extraordinary cabinet session will be held on Saturday at 10am.
Prime Minister Najib Mikati said that all security
apparatuses were dispatched to uncover the background of the explosion.
called for unity between all Lebanese political factions during this “tragic
The Vatican has strongly condemned the "absurd violence" of the deadly bombing in Ashrafieh.
His Eminence Bishop Elias Audi, Metropolitan of Beirut for Greek Orthodox
said to LBCI that the assassination was not expected knowing that the country is heading towards a safe security situation.
He also asked God to grant patience to the Lebanese people because they are living in continuous fear.
France’s Hollande called on all Lebanese
politicians to stay united, work to protect against efforts to destabilize the
Hezbollah also condemned the Ashrafieh explosion, calling it a "criminal act."
For his turn the Head of Change and Reform Bloc MP Michel Aoun said that
this explosion targets the Lebanese stability.
In light of this tough situation, Aoun asked all parties to think wisely because
dragging behind violence is harmful and offensive.
Aoun pointed out that this crime is planned and said: “all Lebanese are
asked to work together in order to fight against crimes”.
“This crime is an accident that has no sequel,” Aoun concluded.
As for MP Walid Jumblatt, he accused the Syrian President Bachar Assad of Brigadier General Wissam Hassan's assassination.
Hezbollah called on security and judiciary apparatuses to exert high
efforts to uncover the assassinators of Brigadier General Wissam Hassan.
The Former PM Saad Hariri also accused Syrian Pres Bachar Assad of Brig. Gen. Wissam Hassans assassination.
LF Cheif Samir Geagea who visited the explosion site after the
announcement of the death of Major General Wissam Hassan, urged the
Lebanese people "to open their eyes and see what is happening".
"We are in the midst of an assassination series, but we will continue
and persevere no matter what" Geagea stressed, pointing the finger at
the Syrian regime for the assassination of Gen. Hassan.
Prior to the announcement of Hassan's death, Kataeb Party Leader Amine Gemayel said that the explosion is an attempt
to push Lebanon into the crisis of neighboring countries.
Prime Minister Fouad Siniora denounced the explosion that targeted "innocent people."
The Speaker of the Parliament Nabih Berri said that the explosion is a
"terrorist attack par excellence and its timing before the Eid al-Adha
shows that perpetrators have deeply criminal minds." He asked all judicial authorities to perform their investigative duties to unveil perpetrators.
As for the Future Bloc MP Ahmad Fatfat he said that if the borders were
left unprotected, Lebanon will witness other bloody and destructive
Loyalty to the resistance MP Hasan Fadlallah
stressed that only investigations are to reveal the criminals who
targeted the country.
Deputy Mohammad Qabbani said to LBCI that the Lebanese state is taking a
firm position of this explosion and March 14 forces are consulting to
organize a meeting soon.
For his part, Syrian Minister of Information Omran Zoabi denounced the explosion, describing it as a "monstrous act."
Names of wounded citizens [as information becomes available]
Injured received at St. George Hospitals (Roum): Mary Sayegh, Grace Sayegh, Hanna Sayegh, 9-yer-old Noar Dorlian, Loutfi Elias Rafouj, Michel Ashkar, Jimmy Tong, Marie Breidy, Melhem Rizk, Nassim Khoury, Layla Abboud, Dana Nawfal Nasrallah, Tatiana Naji Aoude, Laure Khoury, Naji Gergy Shhadeh and Dina Sfeir.
25 others were transferred to Hotel Dieu Hospital, among them: 10-year-old Jennifer Chdid, her father Richard Chdid and her brother Joseph Chdid, as well as Zeina Chouaib Harkous, Awni Tamer, Thuraya Mohammad Haydarm Josephine Nehme, Elie Zein, Bassem Al Souhaydi, Mohammad Hassan, Yasser Lahlah, Youssef Achour, Elias Faddoul, Pamela Tahan, Michel Sader, Susane Fahed, Latifa Farek, Farid Mahdoum Haydar and 2 Syrian nationals Khaled Kaabour and Mohammad Khadam.
For the full report, please click on the VIDEO above.