Well-informed security source revealed Tuesday that that the Internal Security Forces [ISF] Information Branch put its hand on the communications data pertaining to the phone calls of late Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hassan, hours before his assassination.
In an interview with “as-Safir” Lebanese newspaper, the source unveiled that the data ranges specifically from the moment of al-Hassan’s arrival at Beirut International airport Thursday evening to the moment of the explosion around 3 p.m. on Friday.
“Directly after the blast, ISF Director General Major General Ashraf Rifi ordered to be briefed on any possibility that the blast might have targeted any political figure,” the source added.
He further mentioned that “the information denied that any politician had been targeted,”
Meanwhile, Rifi tried to call al-Hassan, who was supposed to be with his family in Paris after coming from Berlin.
According to the source, Rifi discovered that the head of ISF Information Branch was out of service. “Thus, Rifi concluded that al-Hassan was in a location where he could not be reached,” he added.
At around 4 pm, Rifi got a phone call from former Prime Minister Saad Hariri who asked: “Did you ask about Wissam?” Rifi replied “al-Hassan is abroad, PM.”
“Wissam called me this morning and assured me that he had arrived Beirut,” Harri interrupted.
Immediately, Rifi sent al-Hassan’s security escort team to the location of the blast. Around 5 p.m. the team returned with their official’s wristwatch. “Then, everyone realized that al-Hassan was the target,” the source added.
Quickly, Rifi informed PM Najib Mikati and Hariri that Wissam was missing and that he had quite likely been the target of the Achrafieh blast.
Moreover, the source uncovered that al-Hassan was probably being monitored not only in Beirut, but also probably in Berlin and then in Paris.
Permanently, efforts on the few people, whose number doesn’t exceed the one hand fingers, whom he communicated by phone following his return to Beirut.
It is likely that al-Hassan was planning to meet with one of them at his secret office, near the ISF headquarters, in the Hotel Dieu area.