Last Updated: Sat Oct 06, 2012 22:11 pm (KSA) 19:11 pm (GMT)

Detained Lebanese ex-minister was in touch with Assad’s adviser: report

Lebanese forces arrest Michel Samaha, pictured in 2009, a former information minister considered close to Syria's embattled regime, in a case linked to explosives. (AFP)
Lebanese forces arrest Michel Samaha, pictured in 2009, a former information minister considered close to Syria's embattled regime, in a case linked to explosives. (AFP)

A report has revealed new details on the case of former Lebanese information minister Michel Samaha, who was arrested in August for weapons smuggling and plotting terrorism.

Annahar Newspaper reported on Friday that Bouthaina Shaaban, an adviser to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, was involved in Samaha’s case, based on data received by Lebanese internals forces.

Samaha’s contact with Shaaban was discovered in an examination of wire-tapped phone calls Samaha had made.

The Syrian official was reportedly aware of Samaha’s plans. Another high-raking Syrian official along with the Syrian national security Chief General Ali Mamluk and his assistant Brigadier Adnan (whose full identity is still unknown) were also revealed to be in touch with Samaha. All were also indicted Lebanon for alleged involvement in Samaha’s plans to smuggle explosives from Syria and detonate them in north Lebanon.

The internal security forces’ information division submitted a report to the military prosecutor’s office. The report included an analysis of phone calls made by Samaha proving Shaaban’s involvement in the bombing plan, according to Annahar.

According to Annahar, a verbatim record of an intercepted phone call between Samaha and Shaaban was submitted to the office of the military prosecutor 10 days ago.

On Aug. 9, internal security forces stormed into Samaha’s bedroom early in the morning with a warrant signed by Lebanon’s General Prosecutor Said Mirza, and arrested the ex-minister who is a close ally of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. Michel Samaha was arrested on charges of forming a criminal gang that planned carrying out attacks with the aim of “inciting sectarian fighting” in Lebanon at Syria's behest.

A Lebanese security agent who was apparently in contact with Michel Samaha helped unveiling the plot and led to Samaha’s arrest. He was provided with a spy pen camera with which he recorded the phone calls with Samaha.

The recordings of the meetings between the two men revealed details about the explosives, and how they would be transported and set off on a mass gathering in the north. The terror plot also included targeting high profile Lebanese figures that are against the Syrian regime.

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