"The reason that Syria has been late in providing additional information (is) that our interlocutor has been assassinated in Syria," ElBaradei told a closed-door session of the International Atomic Energy Agency's 35-member board. A recording of his remarks was obtained by AFP.On Sunday, Al-AP reported that the results of tests taken at the al-Kibar site bombed by Israel in September 2007 did not conclusively show that Syria was developing nuclear weapons at the site. Israel and the United States have presented strong evidence that the plant was a nuclear site, which has since been plowed under by the Syrians and on which new construction has subsequently taken place. Syria has refused to let the IAEA inspect three other sites that were pointed out by the United States.
He did not provide any further details about the identity of the man or circumstances of the assassination.
But according to Arab media reports last month, a brigadier general thought to be the Syrian regime's liaison with Hezbollah in Lebanon was assassinated.
The Saudi-owned pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat said the victim was a senior Syrian officer "in charge of sensitive files and closely linked to the Syrian top brass."
Al-Bawaba, an Arab news website, named the officer as Mohammed Sleiman, saying he was "Syria's liaison officer with Lebanon's Hezbollah movement."
The Lebanese anti-Syrian daily al-Mustaqbal quoted a Syrian news site as saying Sleiman was the head of security at the presidential palace in Damascus and President Bashar al-Assad's "right-hand man."
ElBaradei's revelation came on the fourth and final day of the IAEA board meeting, where Syria was the final matter of debate.
It's also very curious that Sleiman, who was known to be quite close to Bashar al-Assad and to Hezbullah, was the IAEA's man in Syria. That ought to tell you something about the (lack of) reliability and neutrality of the IAEA's contacts among El-Baradei's 'Syrian brothers.'
And finally, it's also curious that Memeorandum took down this article quite quickly. I was lucky to have seen it.
Cross-posted to Israel Matzav.