Report: Assassination attempt on Hamas figure in Lebanon

  • Posted on: 15 January 2018
  • By: laila Akel

Mohamed Hamdan, also known as Abu Hamza, was targeted on Sun. 14th of January in a car bomb in the city of Sidon, southern Lebanon. According to reports, M. Hamdan survived the blast but was wounded in the attack, which required the amputation of his leg. Security sources and news channels claim that an explosive device weighing between 400g and 500g was placed under the seat of his car and was detonated as M. Hamdan was entering his vehicle.

The vehicle, a silver BMW, was badly damaged in the explosion and caused a large fire to break out, which sent a cloud of black smoke rising above the city that was visible from the capital of Beirut. Firefighters rushed to the scene to control the fire while Lebanese security forces cordoned off the area. In addition, the explosion caused damage to a nearby building and to surrounding cars but no other injuries were reported.   

However, it is still not clear who carried out the assassination attempt as no one claimed responsibility for the attack. In addition, there is no sufficient evidence to even suggest why M. Hamdan was the main target in this incident. Nonetheless, Hamas’ political bureau in Lebanon released a statement in which it said that "initial indications point to Zionist [Israeli] fingers behind this criminal act.”  

In response to these claims, Israeli Intelligence Minister, Israel Katz, said that Israel wasn’t behind the attack and that if it was the case then M. Hamdan wouldn’t have escaped with his life. Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s Defense Minister, denied such accusations as well. But Hezbollah’s news channel, Al-Mayadeen, claimed that Israeli aircrafts were operating in the area of the bombing but it is still not confirmed.

M. Hamdan is not a publicly known figure in Lebanon and his role in Hamas’ organization was not yet detailed by the group. However, some sources claimed that the target was a member of Hamas’ security apparatus and that he is linked to Palestinian internal affairs. Also, initial reports pointed out that he is the brother of Osama Hamdan who is a senior official in Hamas and top representative of the organization in Lebanon, yet this relationship is being denied.