TEHRAN – Iran has said that it is ready to aid the Lebanese government in its interrogation of the Saudi leader of a militant group that claimed responsibility for an attack on the Iranian Embassy in Beirut last November.
An unidentified Lebanese security source said on Wednesday that Majid bin Muhammad al-Majid had been arrested by the Lebanese army together with another Saudi militant, but did not say when they were captured or identify the second man, Reuters reported.
Majid is the leader of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, which operates throughout the Middle East. The Lebanese army said on Friday that DNA tests had shown that the man detained in Beirut was the Saudi commander of the al-Qaeda-linked group, according to AP.
According to the counter-terrorism blog the Long War Journal, Majid is among 85 individuals identified on a Saudi government list issued in 2009 as most wanted for their involvement with al-Qaeda.
Twenty-five people died in a double suicide bombing in front of the Iranian Embassy on November 19.
In an exclusive interview with the Lebanese television network Al-Manar on Thursday, the Iranian ambassador to Lebanon, Ghazanfar Roknabadi, said Iran had officially submitted a request to the Lebanese authorities to participate in the questioning of the Saudi suspect, Press TV reported.
“Cooperation between the Iranian and Lebanese sides over the full identification of those behind the terrorist act is underway,” he said.
Roknabadi added, “Tehran has been in contact with the relevant Lebanese officials… since the day of the terrorist attack in front of the Iranian Embassy in Beirut, and an Iranian expert group has even traveled to Lebanon to investigate the case.”
Lebanese Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour told AFP he had received a note from the Iranian Embassy in Beirut that included “a request for access to the current investigation with Majid al-Majid, with him being one of the suspects in the bombing that targeted the embassy.”
He said he would raise the request with the relevant authorities.
Al-Hayat on Thursday quoted Riyadh’s ambassador to Beirut, Ali Awad Assiri, as saying that Saudi Arabia hailed Lebanon’s arrest of Majid, according to AFP.
In addition, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif held a telephone conversation with Adnan Mansour on Friday, in which he hailed Lebanese officials’ efforts to arrest the mastermind of the attack on the Iranian Embassy.
He also said that Iran planned to send a delegation to Lebanon to assist with the investigation of the case.
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