WED 19 - 2 - 2020
Date: Jun 8, 2019
Source: The Daily Star
Hassan details Tripoli attacker’s path of destruction
Ghinwa Obeid| The Daily Star
BEIRUT: Interior Minister Raya El Hassan detailed the events of the terrorist attack in Tripoli earlier this week that resulted in the deaths of four security personnel, following an emergency meeting Friday of the country’s top security officials.

Speaking at a televised news conference, Hassan said Abdel-Rahman Mabsout left his house on a motorcycle with six grenades and a machine gun before carrying out the attack Monday evening.

Investigations by security forces so far have shown that he first tossed a grenade toward the entrance of Tripoli’s Serail, where shrapnel wounded an unspecified number of civilians. Mabsout then headed to Mina, where he opened fire on an Internal Security Forces vehicle.

Two ISF members, Sgt. Johny Khalil and Lance Cpl. Youssef Faraj, were fatally wounded.

Mabsout then headed toward the port area, where he shot at an Army vehicle, killing soldier Ibrahim Saleh.

Hassan said the assailant then fled to the roof of a residential building. “When the building was surrounded by the Information Branch and Army Intelligence, the terrorist threw a grenade and opened fire, killing 1st Lt. Hasan Farhat,” she said.

In his final act, Mabsout descended to the fourth floor and broke into an apartment, which was raided by personnel from Army Intelligence and the Information Branch.

Hassan said Mabsout attempted to throw a grenade at the security forces, who shot him dead.

The interior minister’s announcement came after she chaired a meeting of the Central Security Council that focused on the aftermath of the Tripoli attack, which happened as Eid al-Fitr began.

Hassan reiterated her earlier comments describing the attacker as a “lone wolf,” saying that the same kind of attack had been carried out in different countries.

During the news conference, Hassan also addressed the controversy that arose after it was revealed that Mabsout, who had fought alongside Daesh (ISIS) in Syria, was released from prison in 2017.

She said that Mabsout, who was born in 1992, left Lebanon for Turkey in 2016 before traveling to Idlib, in northwestern Syria. He then went back to Turkey, where he was arrested and deported to Lebanon. Upon his arrival in Beirut, Mabsout was detained and then investigated by the Information Branch.

After that, he was referred to the Military Tribunal.

“He was sentenced to 1 1/2 years in prison when it was confirmed that his criminal acts were carried out outside Lebanese territories,” the interior minister said.

She explained that in general, security forces conducted investigations under the supervision of the relevant judicial authorities.

“Investigations ... into terrorism-related cases happen under the supervision of the military prosecutor,” she said.

“The punishment that was given to the terrorist [Mabsout] is the punishment that the court, which is an independent body, saw was the suitable action to punish the acts that he had committed outside Lebanese territories,” Hassan added.

Mabsout was released from Roumieh prison after he had finished serving his sentence.

“Tripoli has proved before and after the terrorist attack that it denounces all types of extremism and shows that it is not an incubator for extremism,” Hassan said.

She praised the work that the security forces have been carrying out, saying that the Information Branch alone “carried out more than 30 arrests of people who were preparing to carry out terrorist attacks since 2016.” – Additional reporting by Jacob Boswall

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