According to a report published by Lebanon’s Arabic-language al-Akhbar newspaper on Saturday, the Lebanese Army Intelligence Directorate and the Internal Security Forces Directorate have managed to identify the ringleader of the cell that carried out the assassination operation against Mohammed Hamdan on January 14.
He was identified as 38-year-old Ahmad Baytiyah, who descends from the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, situated 85 kilometers north of the capital Beirut, but lives in the Dutch capital Amsterdam.
Baytiyah was recruited by Mossad and used to travel between Lebanon and the Netherlands frequently. He arrived at Beirut–Rafic Hariri International Airport on January 9.
He rented an apartment for a week in Beirut’s Waterfront City. He visited his family in Tripoli on the day of his arrival, and then returned to the capital.
Baytiyah traveled to Sidon several times under disguise of the head of an executive group, and rigorously monitored Hamdan's house.
On January 11, the group decided to carry out the assassination attempt against the Hamas member, but it was halted for no specific reason.
According to Lebanese investigators, Baytiyah and his accomplices moved to Sidon early on January 14. One of them placed an explosive device under the driver's seat at around 3:30 a.m. local time (0130 GMT), and then they left.
The group returned at about 7:30 a.m. and waited for Hamdan to leave his home and get in the car. The Israeli agents left the area towards Beirut immediately after the explosion.
Hamdan suffered a leg injury in the car bomb explosion at al-Boustan al-Kabir area of Sidon. He was taken to a local hospital for treatment.
The explosion destroyed the vehicle and caused damage to a nearby building, sending black smoke rising above the city.
Firefighters rushed to the scene to put out the flames, while security forces cordoned off the area.