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The Syrian unrest has often spilled into Lebanese border villages with Assad’s forces shelling them, saying they were being used by rebels to smuggle in fighters and arms.
Officials close to Hassan, who had been under threat since he pushed for Samaha’s arrest, said he was using more than one safe house and that only two close associates, including the one who died with him, knew about his movements.
They suspect that Hassan’s movements were followed after his return on Thursday night from a trip abroad.
“There is a contentious history between Wissam al-Hassan and Syria, Iran and their Lebanese allies (Hezbollah),” said one security source, who declined to give his name. “All the espionage and intelligence services of the world are present in Lebanon and they pay huge sums of money for information and there are many Lebanese guns for hire.”
“TERRIBLE BUT NOT UNEXPECTED”
Khouri, a Middle East affairs specialist, said the Hassan assassination was a logical extension of what has been happening in Syria over the past 19 months.
“There has been a steady increase in violence and now we are going to the next step of assassinations, bombings and maybe clashes. It is terrible but it is not unexpected,” he said.
Hassan was killed because he was leading the investigation that led to the prosecution of some important figures, he said.
“It certainly reminds people of a string of assassinations that followed Hariri’s killing,” Khouri said.