Beirut: Although no official confirmation was issued, the pro-Hezbollah Al Akhbar daily and several television stations reported that officers from the Internal Security Forces (ISF) Intelligence Branch identified and may have arrested two men who carried out the bombing that targeted BLOM Bank on Sunday evening.
CCTV footage from around the bank apparently provided various clues, but the breakthrough came as a suspect was arrested shortly before the blast, on suspicion that he was carrying a walkie-talkie.
According to MTV television, ISF investigators saw two suspects riding on a motorcycle shortly before the blast, though cameras picked up one of them jumping into a car which they believed transported one or more culprits to the blast site.
MTV further reported that two “Lebanese citizens who hail from the South” were detained on Sunday evening, because they were carrying a gun and a walkie-talkie of the type used by the Resistance Brigades and it turned out that one of them is a fugitive. The Resistance Brigades is a Hezbollah-affiliated paramilitary group.
Al Akhbar confirmed that neither of the two culprits carried identification papers.
The Sunday explosion destroyed the entire glass facade of the headquarters of BLOM BANK, the second largest financial institution in Lebanon, without causing any deaths. Two individuals were slightly wounded although hundreds of residences on Verdun Street in the Hamra district suffered broken glass damage.
The bomb was an apparent warning to Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh whose application of the US-born Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act, signed on December 18, 2015, angered Hezbollah.
At least 100 accounts belonging to financiers of the group were closed or suspended.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah is expected to comment on the bombing in a televised speech on June 24.