Syria and Hizballah are suspected of engineering the murder of Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hasan, head of the Lebanese police intelligence unit by setting off a huge bomb blast that killed eight Lebanese, injured 78 and devastated buildings in the Christian east Beirut district of Ashrafiyeh Friday.
DEBKAfile: Gen. Al-Hasan was a leading opponent of the Assad regime and Hizballah militancy.
The Syrians long suspected him of a role in the flow of Syrian rebel fighters and arms across the border in conjunction with former Lebanese prime minister Said Hariri and the Saudi and Qatari backers of the Syrian rebellion.
Al-Hasan also fought hard to prevent the closure of the international inquiry into the 2005 murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri under Syrian and Hizballah pressure.
Of late, he led the inquiry which uncovered a string of Assad regime bombing plots using pro-Syrian Lebanese politicians. Twenty Syrian bombing devices were discovered in the home of one of those politicians when he was arrested.
The bomb car exploded 200 yards from the Lebanese Christian Phalange headquarters, whose leader Samir Geagea is another prominent opponent of Syrian ruler Bashar Assad and Hizballah and recently visited Saudi Arabia.