Was Saudi Prince Bandar Behind Beirut Bombing?

On Friday, Jan. 3, Lebanese officials confirmed that the person arrested in December as the mastermind of the November twin suicide bombings on the Iranian embassy in Beirut that left 30 people dead and 160 wounded, has been confirmed by DNA testing to be Saudi national Majid al-Majid, emir of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades. The group was designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. in 2012. It was founded in 2004 in Saudi Arabia by Saleh al Qarawi, a onetime close associate of Al Qaeda’s leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al Zarqawi, who was killed in 2006 in a U.S. airstrike north of Baghdad.

Iran officially asked Lebanon to participate in the investigation with Majid al-Majid given that he is the one responsible for the Iranian Embassy bombings, Iranian Ambassador Ghazanfar Ruknabadi told Lebanese television.

Despite the fact he is also on the Saudis’ terrorist wanted list, Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah has accused Saudi intelligence of being behind the bombing of the Iranian Embassy, alleging the brigades leadership is directly linked to Saudi intelligence.

However, on Saturday, Jan. 4, one day after he was identified as the mastermind of the bombings, it was announced by the Lebanese army that Majid al-Majid has died. In a short statement, the Lebanese army said, Majid al-Majid “died this morning while undergoing treatment at the central military hospital after his health deteriorated.” Earlier, a Lebanese army general told Associated Press that al-Majid died after suffering kidney failure. State-run National News Agency said al-Majid died “after his health conditions deteriorated.”

On Jan. 2, the International Business Times ran an article by Palash Ghosh entitled: “Bandar Bin Sultan: Is Saudi Arabia’s ‘Playboy Prince’ Behind Bomb Attacks In Lebanon?” The article reports that Al-Alam, an Arabic news channel broadcast from Iran and owned by state-controlled media, reported that the two suicide bombers who launched deadly attacks on the Iranian Embassy in Beirut Nov. 19 took their orders from Bandar, citing unnamed sources in Lebanon. The Lebanese sources claimed to have uncovered information that Majed al-Majed, the Saudi leader of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, a group affiliated with al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the attacks, under Bandar’s direction.

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