Lebanon issues arrest warrant for Syrian official
BEIRUT (AP) — A Lebanese judge issued arrest warrants on Monday for a top Syrian intelligence official and his aide for their alleged involvement in a bombing plot in Lebanon, judicial officials said.
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations, said Brig. Gen. Ali Mamlouk is accused of being involved with Lebanon's former information minister who allegedly plotted a wave of attacks in Lebanon at the behest of Syria.
Lebanon, a country plagued by decades of strife, has been on edge since the deadly uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad began in March 2011. Lebanon and Syria share a complex web of political and sectarian ties and rivalries and there are fears in Lebanon that Syria's civil war could spill across the border.
The officials said the warrants were issued by Investigative Judge Riad Abu Ghaida.
They said one of Mamlouk's aides, a colonel who was identified with only his first name, Adnan, was named in the other warrant.
The August arrest of the former information minister, Michel Samaha, was an embarrassing blow to Syria, which has long acted with impunity in Lebanon.
Mamlouk, head of Syria's national security council, was indicted in absentia along with Samaha in the summer.
In October, Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hassan, a top Lebanese anti-Syrian intelligence official, was killed in a car bomb that exploded next to his car in a Beirut neighborhood. The blast sheared balconies off apartment towers, killing al-Hassan, his bodyguard and a civilian and wounding many others.
Earlier in 2012, al-Hassan's intelligence work led to the arrest of Samaha. Prime Minister Najib Mikati said al-Hassan's killing could have been linked to his role in uncovering Samaha's alleged bombing plot.