Tehran Ready to Help Beirut Probe Death

Tehran Ready to Help Beirut Probe Death

TEHRAN (Dispatches) — Iran is offering Lebanon help investigating the death of an Al-Qaeda offshoot chief who died days after his arrest over a recent attack outside the Tehran embassy in Beirut, a spokeswoman for the Iranian foreign ministry said Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Lebanon received a request from the Saudi Embassy in Lebanon to repatriate the body of Majed al-Majed to Riyadh, caretaker Justice Minister Shakib Qortbawi told The Daily Star, as he refused to confirm an autopsy would be carried out on the deceased’s body.
“Iran is ready to cooperate with Lebanon to perform an autopsy to find out the exact reason behind the death of the terrorist Majed al-Majed,” IRNA quoted Marzieh Afkham as telling a news conference.
IRNA said the news conference came after Tehran dispatched a delegation to Lebanon on a fact-finding mission over the death of Majed’s who died at a military hospital Saturday.
“A request from the embassy has been filed to the foreign ministry and referred to the justice ministry asking to get Majed’s body back,” Qortbawi said.
The minister said that the request was made after Majed’s brother told Saudi authorities he would like to have the body back.
He also said it was still not confirmed if an autopsy would be carried out on the body.
However, a source at the Saudi embassy dismissed reports that an autopsy would be carried out on Majed’s body.
“We will rely on the report of the medical examiner and we will not request an autopsy for Majed’s body,” the source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Daily Star.
Qortbawi, citing a medical examiner’s report, said earlier the Saudi citizen who led the Al-Qaeda affiliated Abdallah Azzam Brigades died after his health condition had sharply deteriorated.
Majed’s death came only two days after Lebanese authorities verified his identity through DNA tests.
He was arrested on Dec. 26 by the Lebanese army in Mount Lebanon and was undergoing kidney dialysis at the military hospital in Badaro, Beirut.
Afkham, the Iranian spokeswoman, said Justice Minister Mustafa Pour-Muhammadi, in a letter to Qortbawi, expressed Iran’s readiness to send a judicial team to help with the investigation.
Afkham said that following the Nov. 19 twin bombings outside the Iranian embassy in Beirut, Tehran followed up on the case and held talks with Lebanese officials.
“Then Majed, the main culprit of the terrorist attack, was apprehended,” Afkham added. “But he died days after his arrest.”
She said Tehran has also announced its willingness to help arrest all those involved in the embassy bombing that killed 30 people, including an Iranian diplomat.
“Iran maintains its right to follow up on the case,” Afkham stressed.

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