Report: Lebanon Bombing Was Attempted Hit on Hezbollah Chief

Kuwaiti newspaper says last Friday's explosion in southern Beirut was an attempt to assassinate Hassan Nasrallah; Hezbollah leaders say blast was result of technical problem.

The Lebanon bombing in southern Beirut last Friday was an attempted assassination of Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida reported on Tuesday.

The report claimed that Israel had received information that Nasrallah was to meet senior Hezbollah officials in Beirut's southern suburbs on Friday, among them Samir Kuntar – a Lebanese terrorist freed in a Hezbollah-Israel prisoner swap.

Nasrallah - AP - Feb. 16, 2011

The report said that there are no known details testifying that Nasrallah was hurt in the explosion, but it is known that several Hezbollah members were wounded. It is believed that the blast hurt Mustafa Badr al-Din, the main suspect in the murder of Former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and one of the successors of Hezbollah's late military leader Imad Mughniyeh, who was assassinated in 2008.

Various rumors were circulated in Lebanon regarding the explosion, and Hezbollah issued an official announcement claiming the blast was a result of a technical problem with a gas tank, and that there were no casualties. However, Hezbollah forces closed off the scene and did not allow Lebanese police or army forces to enter – a move which raised suspicions that the explosion was a more significant event than Hezbollah leaders let on.

Meanwhile, the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Siasa reported on Tuesday that Hezbollah has arrested more than 50 members of the organization on suspicion they were involved in the assassination of Imad Mughniyeh and for backing opposition movements in Iran and Syria. The report quotes foreign diplomats saying that there are feelings of uncertainty in Hezbollah since the assassination of Mughniyeh, and in particular due to the recent instability in Syria and Iran.