NICOSIA Ñ The head of Al Qaida in Lebanon has been killed.
Abu Mohammed Al Masri was
killed in an explosion in the Ein Hilwe camp near Sidon. The explosion destroyed a booby-trapped car and was detonated by a remote control device on early
Saturday, Middle East Newsline reported.
PLO officials blamed Israel's Mossad spy agency for the assassination of Al Masri, regarded as the head of Al Qaida in Lebanon,.
They said an Israeli aircraft was seen flying over Ein Hilwe earlier on
[On Sunday, Pakistan reported the capture of Al Qaida operations chief
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.]
Al Masri was an Egyptian national also known as Mahmhoud Al
Bakri. Palestinian sources said Al Masri, who came to Ein Hilwe in 1997, was
killed as he opened his store on early Saturday.
Western intelligence sources said Al Masri was the head of Usbat Al
Ansar. The group is aligned with Al Qaida and has harbored followers of
Osama Bin Laden who had fled Afghanistan last year.
Israel had accused Al Masri of being a key member of an Al Qaida cell
that sought to attack Israeli and U.S. targets in Jordan in 1999. The plot
was foiled by Jordanian authorities.
An unknown group claimed responsibility for the attack. The group, Youth
of the Armed Struggle, said Al Masri was responsible for a series of
bombings in Ein Hilwe.
"We decided to cut off the head of the snake in a first step that the
Youth of the Armed Struggle will take to cleanse the camp of all suspect
elements that were planted in the camp, and which started to sabotage camp
security," the group said in a statement.
On Thursday, Nimr Nur Eddin, head of the Hizbullah security branch in Beirut, was
killed by a Lebanese national, the group said in a statement. Hizbullah said
a young Lebanese man shot Nur Eddin with a rifle after he was refused entry
The assassin was identified as Yusef Mohammed Murad, 29, who lived in
the village of Majdal Zoun in southern Lebanon. Hizbullah has detained the
who was described as having tried to enter the group for nearly a decade.
The statement said Nur Eddin was killed on late Thursday in his
apartment in southern Beirut suburb of Bir El Hassan. He was buried the
The killing came amid increased unrest in Lebanon. On Saturday,
thousands of Lebanese tried to march on the U.S. embassy north of Beirut.
Lebanese security forces were summoned and prevented the demonstrators
from advancing. Scuffles erupted as the demonstrators tried to enter the