Wissam al-Hassan: Who is he?


A picture dated September 21, 2010 shows Lebanon's Internal Security Forces (ISF) Colonel Wissam Hassan attending a ceremony in Beirut.



Wissam al-Hassan, the head of the information branch of Lebanon's Internal Security Forces and one of the country's key security officials, was one of eight people killed Friday in a car bombing in Beirut. 

It appears that Hassan was the target of the attack, but that has yet to be confirmed. Hassan was very close to Lebanon's March 14th coalition, which was formed in 2005 and united by its members' anti-Syrian sentiments.

Several members of the coalition have blammed Syrians for the attack, BBC News reported

Hassan was born in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli in 1965 to a Sunni family, and worked his way up the government's security force to become the leader of former Sunni Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri's security detachment in 2001, according to BBC. 

As one of former Hariri's security chiefs, Hassan was instrumental in investigating the leader's assassination in 2005, Lebanese politics blog Qifa Nabki reported. Some, however, accused him of being a suspicious player in the lead-up to Hariri's death. 

More from GlobalPost: Beirut car bomb: Intelligence chief Wissam al-Hassan reported dead (VIDEO)

More recently, Hassan made news for his investigation of ex-Information Minister Michel Samaha, who was arrested for cooperating with Syria's regime to launch terrorist attacks throughout Lebanon, according to Lebanon Now

The ISF's Director General Ashraf Rifi commended Hassan's work on the case, calling him "an intelligent and courageous officer" whose efforts led to the arrest of a "terrorist mastermind," Rifi said, Lebanon Now reported

 He was reportedly slated to take over as head of the ISF at the end of this year. 

“This is a big, big, big event, and one cannot begin even to think through the repercussions,” said Mohammed Chatah, an adviser to Hariri, Business Insider reported. “Wissam Hassan was a very important man in Lebanese politics, he was an important man in the great divide splitting the country and he was an important man in the police work that has uncovered many sensitive things.”