Former Mossad chief debunks claims Israel behind Beirut bombing

Lebanon president: Blast bears fingerprints of terrorism, Israel.

August 16, 2013 10:04
1 minute read.
People gather around the site of an explosion in Beirut's southern suburbs, August 15, 2013.

Beirut bombing 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/ Hasan Shaaban)

Former Mossad chief Danny Yatom discounted a claim by Lebanese President Michel Suleiman that Israel was behind a deadly car bombing that went off near a Hezbollah stronghold in Beirut Thursday.

“This is a criminal act that bears the fingerprints of terrorism and Israel, and is aimed to destabilize Lebanon and deal a blow to the resilience of the Lebanese,” Lebanese media quoted Suleiman as saying on Thursday.

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Yatom stated that the bombing, in which 20 people were killed and more than 212 were injured, was an internal Lebanese matter of state and denied Israel's involvement as it has "enough problems of [its] own".

"We have become accustomed to this kind of accusations, they need to be ignored," the ex-Mossad told Army Radio on Friday.

"There is almost no situation in the Middle East that Israel's opponents do not attribute to Israel, and this is also true in this case," he said.

While a Sunni Islamist group claimed responsibility for the bombing, Hezbollah and Lebanese officials said it bore the markings of a Zionist attack and served the interests of Israel.

A Sunni Islamist group calling itself the Brigades of Aisha claimed responsibility for the explosion, saying it targeted Hezbollah and promising more attacks.

Senior Hezbollah figures said that the blast "has Zionist fingerprints all over it."

Meanwhile, Lebanese Interior Minister Marwan Charbel suggested that the attack may have been Israeli retaliation for explosions that wounded four Israeli soldiers who allegedly infiltrated southern Lebanon last week.

Sectarian tensions have been high in Lebanon following the intervention of Shi'ite Muslim Hezbollah in support of Syrian President Bashar Assad against a two-year revolt led by Syria's Sunni Muslim majority. Hezbollah also fought a month-long war with Israel in 2006.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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