Hamas official escapes assassination attempt in Lebanon

Hamas has blamed Israel for the explosion in Sidon that wounded Mohammed Hamdan in his leg. (AN photo)
Updated 14 January 2018
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Hamas official escapes assassination attempt in Lebanon

BEIRUT: A Hamas official narrowly escaped death when his car exploded in Sidon, south Lebanon, on Sunday afternoon. 
He escaped the assassination attempt with leg injuries and underwent surgery at Hammoud Hospital in Sidon.
The explosion, from a 500-gram device placed under the driver’s seat, targeted Hamas member Mohammed Omar Hamdan, (aka “Abu hamzah“). It happened while Hamdan was entering his car, which was parked in Albustan Alkabir neighborhood. 
Reporters at the scene said Hamdan told his rescuers he was trying to open his car boot to clean it when the explosion happened.
Jihad Taha, Hamas deputy political official in Lebanon, said: “Hamdan is a member of the movement, and he works at the office of its political official in Lebanon, Ahmad Abdul Hadi.”
Ghassan Ayoub, from the Palestinian People’s Party at Ain Al-Hilweh camp, told Arab News that Hamdan was not active in Sidon; rather, his activities are limited to Beirut. 
“The explosion aimed to kill the target, not just injure him,” Ayoub noted. 
“If Israel targeted Hamdan, it wouldn’t be the first time Israel failed to kill its target.”

The official Lebanese National News Agency reported later that “the explosion resulted from a 500-gram explosive device which was placed under the driver’s seat.”
The Lebanese army command said in a statement: “The explosive device went off in a grey BMW in Albustan Alkabir, which resulted in the injury of its Palestinian owner Mohammad Hamdan. The army forces imposed a security cordon around the area, and the military expert checked the location of the explosion to determine its size and nature.”
Hamdan was the only casualty in the blast, although his wife and one of his children were following him.
A security source said “The forensic evidence section collected the videos recorded by local cameras and listened to witnesses who were present at the scene. The investigation is trying to find out whether the explosion was caused by remote control or due to friction, as well as deciding the time Hamdan parked his car, and whether another person was driving the car.”
Taha accused the Israelis of targeting Hamdan, and so did Ayman Shana’a, a Hamas political official, who stressed that “we are waiting for the results of the investigations of the security forces.”
Hamas declared in a statement that “the initial indicators point to the presence of Zionist links behind the criminal act.” 


Kuwait’s emir in Baghdad amid regional tensions

Updated 10 min 47 sec ago
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Kuwait’s emir in Baghdad amid regional tensions

  • This is the first official visit by the emir of Kuwait since 2012
  • KUNA said the meeting will focus on regional developments

BAGHDAD: Kuwait’s emir has arrived in Iraq for a rare official visit to the neighboring country amid rising tensions in the Arabian Gulf between Washington and Tehran.

Iraq’s President Barham Saleh received Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah at Baghdad’s airport on Wednesday.

Kuwait news agency KUNA said the visit, the first since 2012, will focus on regional developments in the wake of attacks on oil tankers last week near the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

Washington, which has accused Iran of carrying out the attacks on the oil tankers, has dispatched warships and bombers to the region and is sending 1,000 more troops to the Mideast. Iran denies it is behind the attacks.