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Middle East

Lebanon issues warrant for Syrian spy chief

Judge issues arrest warrant for top Syrian intelligence official Ali Mamlouk for his alleged involvement in a bomb plot.
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2013 21:23
The Syrian officials are accused of involvement with a former Lebanese minister of plotting a wave of attacks [EPA]

A Lebanese judge has issued arrest warrants for a top Syrian intelligence official and his aide for their alleged involvement in a bombing plot in Lebanon, judicial officials said.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations, said Brigadier General Ali Mamlouk is accused of being involved with Lebanon's former information minister who allegedly plotted a wave of attacks in Lebanon at the behest of Syria.

The officials said Monday's warrants were issued by Investigative Judge Riad Abu Ghaida. They said one of Mamlouk's aides, a colonel who was identified with only his first name, Adnan, was named in the other warrant.

The August arrest of the former information minister, Michel Samaha, was an embarrassing blow to Syria, which has long acted with impunity in Lebanon.

Mamlouk, head of Syria's national security council, was indicted in absentia along with Samaha in the summer.

In October, Brigadier General Wissam al-Hassan, a top Lebanese anti-Syrian intelligence official, was killed in a car bomb that exploded next to his car in a Beirut neighbourhood.

The blast sheared balconies off apartment towers, killing al-Hassan, his bodyguard and a civilian and wounding many others.

Earlier in 2012, al-Hassan's intelligence work led to the arrest of Samaha. Prime Minister Najib Mikati said al-Hassan's killing could have been linked to his role in uncovering Samaha's alleged bombing plot.

Lebanon, a country plagued by decades of strife, has been on edge since the deadly uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011.

Lebanon and Syria share a complex web of political and sectarian ties and rivalries and there are fears in Lebanon that Syria's civil war could spill across the border.

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