Police have opened an investigation into the suspicious death of Elias al-Hasrouni, a former Lebanese Forces (LF) coordinator in Ain Ibl, in Bint Jbeil, South Lebanon, a security source confirmed to L'Orient-Le Jour.
When Hasrouni was found dead on Aug. 2, it was first believed that there had been an accident. However, the president of the Ain Ibl municipality, Imad Allous, along with the Lebanese Forces and the Kataeb party claimed that he was kidnapped and murdered.
The security source told L'Orient-Le Jour that the investigation was opened due to newfound CCTV footage, among other evidence. However, he said little information is available regarding the ongoing investigation.In his statement, Allous said the municipality and the people of Ain Ibl "strongly denounce and condemn the vicious attack on Elias al-Hasrouni, who died in a planned incident, as he was kidnapped and taken in his car to a deserted road, where he was later found dead."
'Preserve the region's security'
Allous told L'Orient Le-Jour's correspondent that he asked Internal Security Forces (ISF) to take immediate measures to "determine the identities of the killers and impose severe penalties against them in order to preserve the region's security." He further claimed that "the ISF now has conclusive evidence of the kidnapping ... We accuse unknown persons of kidnapping al-Hasrouni and orchestrating his death."
The mayor said that the footage, which was not reviewed by L'Orient-Le Jour, depicted "unknown persons in two cars followed Hasrouni and intercepted his car … and one of the persons got out of his car ... [and] drove Hasrouni's car and headed with the two other cars towards an unknown destination."
"Hasrouni was found dead in his car hours later on the road that links Ain Ibl to Hanine, one kilometer away from his house," Allous continued. "The car's doors and the airbags were open. He was transferred to Salah Ghandour Hospital in Bint Jbeil."
Allous added that the coroner's report found that Hasrouni died "due to rib fractures." L'Orient-Le Jour was unable to immediately review the coroner's report.
In a statement issued on Tuesday afternoon, Lebanese Forces (LF) leader Samir Geagea stated: "It has become evident in the past two days that the passing of our comrade Elias al-Hasrouni in Ain Ibl was not the result of a car accident, as initially reported."
"Through the surveillance cameras of neighboring houses near the scene, it has been revealed that an ambush, consisting of at least two cars, was set up for our comrade Elias. As he passed by, he was abducted by the members of the ambush, estimated to be between six and nine individuals, and taken to another location where he was killed," Geagea continued.
Geagea asked security forces to identify the perpetrators "given the sensitivity of the situation in Ain Ibl and the neighboring villages, and considering the potential consequences of this crime if the perpetrators are not identified."
Ain Ibl is a predominantly Christian village in a predominantly Shiite region of southern Lebanon.
"May God have mercy on the heroic martyr Elias al-Hasrouni who fell victim to a treacherous militia operation in his hometown Ain Ibl, a place he loved and was loved by," tweeted Kataeb party leader Samy Gemayel.
"We will not condemn or demand to know the truth, for it is as clear as the sun ... The nation is captive, the Lebanese are hostages, and we are in a state of resilience and resistance. They will not weaken our determination" in reference a clear reference to Hezbollah.
However, Elias Al-Hasrouni's brother told Al-Jadeed TV station: "I don't believe that what happened has a political nature, and there are those who want to fish in troubled waters."
Reporting contributed by Muntasser Abdallah.
Police have opened an investigation into the suspicious death of Elias al-Hasrouni, a former Lebanese Forces (LF) coordinator in Ain Ibl, in Bint Jbeil, South Lebanon, a security source confirmed to L'Orient-Le Jour.When Hasrouni was found dead on Aug. 2, it was first believed that there had been an accident. However, the president of the Ain Ibl municipality, Imad Allous, along with the...