Attempted Cover-Up of Al-Qaeda Role in Hariri Murder?

Posted: February 15, 2006 in Politics

This is the second installment in this fascinating story, from, Talisman Gate. I have tried to get someone in the media interested in this, but to no avail. Maybe someone out there can help. This could be significant, but none of the news media really monitors Arab language newspapers.

Yesterday (February 4, 2006, the pro-Syrian Lebanese daily Addiyar (edited by Charl Ayoub) ran a story about the 13 suspected detainees who are believed to be part of an Al-Qaeda ring, and who were arrested by Lebanese authorities over a month ago. Addiyar claims that a source close to the investigation has told the paper that one of the suspects had confessed to taping and editing the videotape made by suspected suicide bomber Ahmad Tayseer Abu Ades taking responsibility for the Hariri assassination on February 14, 2005. This tape was aired by Aljazeera shortly after the bombing that also killed dozens of others. Abu Ades is believed to be the suicide bomber who drove the explosives-laden truck used in the assassination, according to some circles. Addiyar also reports that a team from Saudi intelligence had also interrogated the detainees at some point in the investigation. 


Ahmad Abu Ades as he appeared in the videotape

Last week, another Lebanese daily, Assafir, ran a story citing a ‘security official’ who claimed that only 11 suspects were arrested, while two others who were also targeted in the raid got away. One of those escapees is supposed to be Khalid Medhat Taha, named in the Mehlis report as Abu Ades’ handler.

I have a source who is allegedly speaking to someone with direct knowledge of the investigation, and this is what I was told last week:

-Khalid Medhat Taha managed to escape (…or was helped to escape) from the dragnet. He is currently believed to be hiding in the ‘Ain Al-Hilwa Camp (for Palestinian refugees) on the outskirts of Sidon.

-A Saudi national and a Palestinian refugee were among those detained. In their first affidavit, they described how the vehicle (did not specify model) that was used in the Hariri assassination was fitted with explosives and stored in the ‘Ain Al-Hilwa Camp.

-The detainees are being held by the Interior Ministry (pro-Hariri), while Military Intelligence (thought to be pro-Lahoud) has not been allowed to interrogate them. The UN inquiry team into the Hariri assassination, currently headed by Belgian prosecutor Serge Brammertz (took over from Detlev Mehlis on Jan. 24), has asked for access to this group but are being stonewalled.

-A team from the Saudi intelligence service arrived in Beirut and spoke to the Saudi and Palestinian detainees. They managed to extract the names of five priority security targets operating in Saudi Arabia. It has been suggested that the initial information about the truck bomb was expunged from the record after this meeting, leading to speculation about some sort of deal. [This is where my source overlaps the Addiyar information, but I was very hesitant to write about all of this since this speculation concerning a bargain with the detainees does not seem realistic.]

-There have been three bombings against military targets in Lebanon, with minimal casualties. Unknown groups have taken responsibility for these acts in an e-mail (tracked to Cyprus) and through a phone call (from a public pay booth in ‘Ain Al-Hilwa Camp), and have threatened further attacks if the 11 militants are not released. This information has also been published in the Arab press. It seems that the attackers have given Feb. 14 as a deadline, ominously falling on the one year anniversary of the Hariri assassination.

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