During the last visit of Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri to Beqaa, a mysterious explosion took place relatively close to his convoy.
While investigations have yet to reveal the details of the incident, the following is what’s known about it so far, according to local media reports and the official statements of the authorities and concerned parties.
On June 28th, the Dubai-based Al-Hadath reported that a missile explosion took place in a mountainous area located within the course of Former PM Hariri’s 30-car convoy, which was at the time heading for Beirut after a visit to Beqaa.
The report confirmed that the explosion happened 500 meters away from the convoy. It explained that the convoy “continued on its way to Beirut when the missile exploded, while the security forces mobilized and worked to sweep the perimeter and recovered the remains of a missile, but kept the information secret.”
It also mentioned that the security forces were investigating whether the source of the missile was an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or a ground base, in addition to its type and caliber.
Since the report surfaced, local Lebanese media revealed more information about the incident, which had been kept confidential by the authorities since it took place, over a week ago.
LBCI reported that the explosion may have been caused by “a fuel tank explosion” of a UAV, which was flying at a distance from the convoy, according to preliminary information.
Furthermore, it indicated that official investigations may announce, on June 29th, whether the cause was indeed a fuel tank or a missile, and whether the convoy was a target.
In turn, Former PM Saad Hariri’s media office issued a statement on the matter. It confirmed that “the information provided in the [Al-Hadath] report is generally correct.”
But, “in order to prevent ongoing interpretation, especially on social media platforms, the media office is concerned with clarifying the following:”
“Prime Minister Hariri was informed by the concerned security forces of an explosion in the area on the same day, but since the convoy was not subjected to any attack, and to prevent any exploitation in light of the prevailing tension, his decision was to conceal the matter and wait for the results of the investigations of the competent security forces.”
Later, the General Directorate of Internal Security Forces released a statement of its own, echoing the above.
“On the 17th of this month, coinciding with the presence of Prime Minister Saad Hariri in the Central Beqaa region, a citizen witnessed the explosion of a foreign object in the air and its fall to the ground, so he reported it,” the statement started.
It affirmed that investigations have been “ongoing and strictly confidential,” since the date of the incident, and will continue until “all the data surrounding what happened in the region at that time” is revealed.
The ISF noted that the investigations were kept confidential in order to prevent the exploitation of the accident, in light of the “prevailing conditions in the country,” emphasizing that Hariri’s convoy was unharmed by the explosion.
With that said, a security source told Al-Joumhouria that the incident is not considered an assassination attempt.
“The most likely scenario, which is based on a junction of information, is that an Israeli drone was flying in the air at the time when a missile was launched from the ground towards it but did not hit it, in conjunction with the passage of the Hariri convoy in the area.”
Ultimately, of course, it is up to the official investigations to determine the final circumstances and implications of the incident.