Beirut – Lebanese authorities arrested four suspects in connection with the assassination of Brig. Gen. Francois el-Hajj that occurred on Wednesday morning in Baabda , east of Beirut.
Security sources said one man was arrested near the explosion site in Baabda shortly after the 7:05 am bomb went off , killing el-Hajj ,his bodyguard and driver .
They said the man remains in police custody for suspected involvement in the blast.
The sources said three other people were seized later Wednesday after Lebanese army troops launched house raids in Taamir, a residential area adjacent to Ein el-Hilweh in the southern port city of Sidon.
They said the plate number of the olive green BMW that was used in Hajj’s assassination showed that the vehicle had been previously registered by the three men.
The daily An Nahar said Thursday that surveillance cameras placed in public places, particularly near the Baabda municipal building, were being checked for any evidence.
As Safir newspaper, however, said the car had been left at the site eight minutes before Hajj arrived, indicating that more than one person was involved in the assassination. The car engine was also exchanged according to police reports
A senior military source told As Safir that the Lebanese army, which is handling the investigation, chose to focus its search on the hypothesis that the crime was committed by a “regional fundamentalist terrorist side,” in light of given intelligence information and other data that had been compared to previous bombings that targeted political figures as well as UNIFIL in the south.
The source said it appears that the side that carried out the crime is “smaller than al-Qaida and bigger than Fatah al-Islam.”