BEIRUT (AFP) – Islamist chief Shaker al-Abssi’s wife has admitted she may have made a mistake in identifying the body of a fighter killed in Lebanon’s siege camp as that of the Fatah al-Islam chief, the attorney general said on Sunday.
Said Mirza said Rishdiyeh al-Abssi has told a judge that she “may have been mistaken” on September 3 in identifying a body found after the fall of the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp as that of her husband.
Abssi led his Fatah al-Islam militia in a deadly battle against the Lebanese army for more than three months at the Palestinian refugee camp in the north of the country that ended on September 2.
His death had been announced based on his wife’s identification of a body in a morgue, but Mirza said on Monday that Abssi may have escaped because DNA tests on the body had proved negative.
Then by Saturday, “tests taken on the skeleton showed it was the body of a person about 30 years old, while the Fatah al-Islam chief is 53,” local media said, in reports confirmed by Mirza.
A judge plans to question Palestinian leaders who have also identified the body as that of Abssi.
Nearly 400 people were killed in the clashes in and around Nahr al-Bared, including at least 222 Islamists and 166 soldiers, making the standoff Lebanon’s worst internal violence since the 1975-1990 civil war.