One of the perpetrators of the latest car bomb to explode in the southern Lebanese port city of Sidon has confessed to being directed by the Israeli secret service, the press office of Lebanese Interior Ministry has announced.
In a statement made by Lebanese interior ministry spokesman Nouhad Mashnuq, the Lebanese government announced that a Hamas official, named as Mohammad Hamdan, had been the target of the car bomb, but had only been injured in the blast.
In a statement distributed to reporters, it said investigators were able to arrest “one of the main perpetrators of the crime, who confessed to being tasked with Israeli intelligence”.
The statement did not specify the suspect’s nationality, but said investigators seized “very advanced communications mechanisms from his home and correspondence between him and his handlers.”
Hamdan did not appear to have a public or political role in Hamas, but according to a Palestinian security source, he was a member of the organisation’s security structure.
Hamas also accused Israel of involvement in the attack against Hamdan. The Palestinian Islamist group has fought three wars with Israel in the past decade and is based in Gaza, but it operates branches elsewhere in the Middle East including Lebanon.
Tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees live in Lebanon, many of them in 12 camps across the country.
The most densely-populated is Ain al-Hilweh, which lies near Sidon and is home to an estimated 61,000 Palestinians, including 6,000 who have fled the war in neighbouring Syria.
By longstanding convention, Lebanese authorities do not enter Palestinian camps, where security is instead left to joint Palestinian security forces.
In 2010, Lebanon sentenced a former security officer to death for collaborating with Israel to assassinate two Islamic Jihad leaders in Sidon.