Five years have passed since the assassination of the head of the Information Branch of the Internal Security Forces, Brigadier General Wissam al-Hassan, and judicial and security investigations still have no evidence on the identity of the perpetrators and those behind them.
No official ceremonies were held on Thursday to commemorate al-Hassan’s assassination, as some officials only laid wreaths on his tomb, amid increasing questions about the fate of the probe.
Despite rumors about headway in the investigation, the ongoing probe hasn't reached a decisive conclusion, a judicial source told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, noting that there is nothing new to inform the public about.
The sources added that the available data required matching physical evidence in order to establish the validity of information and determine the identity of the suspects.
Other security sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the past years have not helped create a favorable ground or give the investigation a strong impetus.
According to the sources, “the state - with all its military, security and judicial bodies - was preoccupied with pursuing terrorist networks and countering their danger.”
Al-Hassan was killed by a car bomb targeting his motorcade in the Beirut area of Ashrafieh on October 19, 2012. His driver Ahmed Sahyoun and a number of civilians were also killed, while dozens of people were wounded.
Observers linked his assassination with the arrest of former minister Michel Samaha, the political adviser to the head of the Syrian regime, Bashar al-Assad, who was caught transporting 25 explosive devices from Damascus to Beirut and handing them over to the informant, Milad Kfoury, in order to detonate them during Ramadan Iftars in the northern region of Akkar.
At the time, the March 14 coalition considered the assassination of Hassan a response from the Syrian regime to Samaha’s arrest.
On Thursday noon, Interior Minister Nohad al-Mashnouq visited the tomb of al-Hassan in Beirut's Martyrs Square, accompanied by Minister of State for the Displaced Moeen al-Merehbi, ISF Director General Major General Imad Osman, Head of Information Division Colonel Khaled Hamoud and senior officers from the security forces.
In response to a journalist’s question on why the criminal was still at large, the interior minister replied: “Today, I have no answer, because nothing has been established so far. The investigation is ongoing and is not over yet.”
He added that more should be done in this regard.