HARIRI ALLEGES THREAT OF SYRIAN NERVE GAS ATTACK AGAINST MARCH 14 FORCES OR UN

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id: 78781
date: 9/18/2006 12:31
refid: 06BEIRUT3021
origin: Embassy Beirut
classification: SECRET
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----------------- header ends ----------------

S E C R E T BEIRUT 003021

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR NEA, S/CT, INR;
NSC FOR ABRAMS/DORAN/MARCHESE/HARDING

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/18/2016
TAGS: PTER, PREL, LE, SY
SUBJECT: HARIRI ALLEGES THREAT OF SYRIAN NERVE GAS ATTACK
AGAINST MARCH 14 FORCES OR UN

Classified By: Jeffrey Feltman, Ambassador, per 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (S) MP Saad Hariri passed via messenger threat
information alleging that the Syrians are planning a nerve
gas attack against either a UN or March 14 target in
Lebanon during the month of September. The attack will be
portrayed as an al-Qaida operation. According to the
information, five Syrian sailors and 47 were wounded when
some of the gas leaked in Tartous Port.

2. (S) The Ambassador has requested a meeting with Hariri
to discuss his sourcing and whether he has shared this
information with others (such as UN, UNIIIC, and UNIFIL
officials). We also want to make sure that Hariri has
shared this information with the GOL so that Lebanese army
and other border officials will be vigilant regarding
smuggling attempts. We will report septel Hariri's
comments.

3. (S) We have copied the full text of the
English-language message Hariri sent to us. Begin text:

Two weeks ago, Ship "Goy B" docked in Tartous Port and an
incident led to the killing of five sailors, four of which
were known while the fifth remained unidentified. Five
bodies and 47 injured were sent to Al-Basil Hospital.

The new thing about this information is that two months
ago, the Syrian military officials received material that
was on the ship which docked in Tartous Port. It consisted
of containers carrying chemical materials (colorless and
odorless poisonous material). These materials killed the
sailors after they dropped one of the containers which
opened while they were trying to put it down.

The Syrian Army and the concerned authorities tried to hide
the news of the arrival of these materials to Tartous Port
and also the casualties that happened in the army units who
were equipped with masks and special uniforms. This gas,
i.e. the materials, attacks the nervous system and kills
immediately everyone who inhales it.

According to the source, the ship arrived to Tartous Port
three times this year carrying wood and iron materials and
not containers. But the appearance of these containers was
surprising and this explains the arrival of the army unit
116 which is in charge of managing the chemical war and is
specialized in bacteriological weapons. The unit appeared
in the port three times this year and it is certain that it
was planning to transport these containers

The source asserts that some of these materials were moved
-- and others will be moved -- and put in a warehouse in
Naameh area with a group of Palestinians. These materials
will be used in a big explosion that would occur in
September and that would be traced back to al-Qaeda. This
blast will target a United Nations quarter or a meeting for
the March 14 forces, and there will be no survivals due to
the great effectiveness of these materials which contain
the Methane gas.

According to the source, this material will be used against
both targets and in different timings. This material has
not entered Lebanon yet because of the war that took place
in Lebanon during the month of August and also due to the
blockade that Israel imposed on the land crossings.

The source warns that these materials can enter under
camouflage because they cannot be put in a tanker but they
should be fixed on trucks or tankers, i.e. an iron box that
is made especially for such a material. These boxes would
be put on a truck that looks like a tanker after which the
iron box will be destroyed.

This ship belongs to the Waheeb Company, partner of Maher
Assad and Muder Assad. All the sailors that died were
Syrians, one of them is Captain Ahmad Abdullah Bayazeed,
and they didn't announce the fifth name. It was known from
the source that he was a member of Army Unit 116 and was on
board of the ship.

End text.

FELTMAN

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