fact-finding team begins probe into late Prime Minister's
team due in Lebanon to probe Hariri killing
places suspicion on Syria
launches judicial probe into Hariri murder
to cooperate with UN in Hariri death inquiry by Nayla
asks Switzerland for explosive experts in Hariri assassination
hunts suspects after TNT traces found on Australia-bound
not involved in Hariri murder, not afraid of probe:
killer bomb was in tunnel: opposition
to seek Swiss expert help to probe Hariri murder
security storm Hariri bomb claimer's home
bloody history of political assassinations
says Hariri probably killed by suicide car bomb
UN fact-finding team
begins probe into late Prime Minister's murder Future
Tv news 26/02/05
Switzerland has decided
not to collaborate with a Lebanese investigation into
the assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri,
but said it was willing to put specialists at the
service of the UN in tracking the killers. The Lebanese
judiciary decided to seek the help of Swiss forensic
specialists to probe the murder, after the authorities
said that expertise from a "neutral country"
could be brought in. The foreign ministry said any
help should be given in the framework of the UN, and
was willing to provide experts if the world organization
A United Nations fact-finding team began inquiries
into the assassination of former Prime Minister Hariri,
a killing the opposition blamed on Syria. Hariri's
death inflamed a row over the presence of Syrian troops
in Lebanon and intensified international pressure
on Damascus to end its dominating role. The U.N. Security
Council, angered by the Feb. 14 bombing that killed
Hariri and 17 others, had asked Secretary-General
Kofi Annan to report urgently on "the circumstances,
causes and consequences of the assassination".
Lebanon's Syrian-backed government rejected calls
for an international investigation into the killing,
but has pledged to cooperate with the U.N. mission
which is to meet officials and visit the bomb site,
but does not have investigative powers. The head of
the three-member U.N. team, Irish Deputy Police Commissioner
Peter Fitzgerald, told reporters in Beirut he promised
"absolute impartiality and professionalism".
Annan told Arab satellite television Al Arabiya he
hoped Fitzgerald would be able to report back before
he presents a report to the Security Council on Syrian
troop withdrawal. Interior Minister Suleiman Frangieh
pledged cooperation while insisting that the Irish
officers were "not investigators, but are here
to give their opinion." Justice Minister Adnan
Addum said the team was in Lebanon "to collect
information... and they are working within the limits
of their prerogatives... within the scope of Lebanese
sovereignty." The Lebanese authorities, which
have released few details, have launched their own
investigation and sought Swiss expertise in DNA testing
and explosives. Lebanon's opposition figures blame
Syria and its allies in Lebanon for the killing of
Hariri. Syria and the government deny the charges
and have pointed blame at Israel. Security chief Major
General Jameel al-Sayed vowed to sue the editor of
a Kuwaiti newspaper which accused him and two Syrian
intelligence officials of plotting and carrying out
the murder. Peter FitzGerald, deputy commissioner
of the Irish police, said the team will work with
"absolute impartiality and professionally."
FitzGerald said the team will draw up a report within
four weeks for UN chief Kofi Annan to present to the
UN team due in Lebanon
to probe Hariri killing
A UN-appointed commission was due to arrive in Lebanon
Thursday to join the investigation into the assassination
of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri last week.
team of Irish police officers is expected to arrive
in Beirut later today to start their mission,"
one diplomatic source told AFP.
team is being led by deputy commissioner Peter Fitzgerald
and includes forensic, judicial and political experts.
Lebanese opposition has accused the regime and its
political masters in Syria of having a hand in the
February 14 massive bomb blast in a Beirut seafront
neighborhood that killed Hariri and 17 others.
authorities in Beirut have denied any responsibility
in the killing and agreed to cooperate with a UN commission
of inquiry but have rejected a full international
UN team is due to complete their initial investigation
within a month.
UN statement on Monday said UN chief Kofi Annan was
sending the team following a request by the Security
Council to "urgently report on the circusmtances,
causes and consequences of the killing."
team will make contact with Lebanese officials and
others to gather such information as necessary for
the Secretary General to report to the Council in
a timely manner," it said.
places suspicion on Syria
The foreign secretary, Jack Straw,
went further than any other senior international statesman
yesterday when he pointed the finger of blame at Syria
for the assassination of the former Lebanese prime
minister, Rafik Hariri.
Straw, speaking at a press conference in Brussels,
said there was "a high level of suspicion of
the potential involvement of Syria in the assassination".
went beyond the US president, George Bush, who admitted
he did not as yet know who was responsible but called
anyway on the Syrian government to pull its troops
out of Lebanon.
Hariri was killed in an explosion along with other
members of his cavalcade as he made his way along
the Beirut waterfront on Monday last week.
Foreign Office source said last night that Mr Straw's
comments were in response to a reporter's question
and not based on inside information from British or
other intelligence agencies.
foreign secretary said: "An international inquiry
should be undertaken without delay to shed light on
the circumstances and those responsible for this attack."
with other European foreign ministers, he is backing
a UN team being dispatched by the secretary general,
Kofi Annan, to investigate the killing. The team is
led by Peter Fitzgerald, a deputy Irish police commissioner.
most of his political career Mr Hariri publicly supported
the posting of Syrian troops on Lebanese soil, but
last autumn he resigned in protest at Syrian interference
in Lebanese politics.
sources in Beirut said that after a difficult meeting
with the Syrian president, Bashar Assad, in Damascus,
he was warned by one of the many branches of Syria's
intelligence that he was a marked man.
battles are being fought in Damascus between those
factions trying to maintain a low profile in the face
of US pressure and those unwilling to give up the
profits that continue to pour in from Syrian occupation
of parts of Lebanon.
Hariri's death has united Lebanese political groups
in opposition to Syria.
judicial probe into Hariri murder
Feb 22 (AFP) - Lebanon's supreme Council of Justice
launched a judicial inquiry Tuesday into the killing
of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri in a massive
Beirut bomb blast eight days ago.
council, the highest judicial authority in the land
which usually deals only with matters affecting national
security, said it was filing a complaint against "X"
over the attack, which killed Hariri and 17 other
complaint is against an "unknown person over
the assassination of the former prime minister with
the use of explosives against his convoy, which killed
him and a number of other people and wounded others,
caused damage to infrastructure and property and brought
harm to the security of the state."
Qaddura, prosecutor general at Lebanon's highest appeals
court who is the interim head of the Council of Justice,
has asked examining magistrate Michel Abu Aarrage
to lead the inquiry.
opposition has accused the government and its political
masters in Damascus of having a hand in the killing,
which caused carnage not seen in Beirut since the
1975-1990 civil war.
well as 18 confirmed dead, another man is also missing,
while the damage caused by the blast is running close
to 50 million dollars, according to media reports.
cooperate with UN in Hariri death inquiry by Nayla
will cooperate with a UN commission of inquiry into
the killing of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri
to find those responsible and try to ease tensions
provoked by the murder, the pro-Syrian speaker of
parliament, Nabih Berri, said on Sunday.
decision, taken amid opposition accusations of Syrian
involvement and open defiance of the Damascus-backed
government, reversed an earlier statement by a minister
that Beirut was set to snub the probe.
Emile Lahoud received a letter from UN Secretary General
Kofi Annan on this subject and replied on the basis
of cooperation," said Berri.
are clarifications (that we will be seeking) but on
that basis we're going to cooperate, because it's
in the interests of the Lebanese state that the truth
will out within the framework of respect for its sovereignty."
parties in Lebanon have been galvanised by last Monday's
killing, in a huge bomb blast, of the five-times former
premier, into increasing demands that Syria pull out
its 14,000 troops and lift its political grip off
its tiny neighbour.
France and the United States, which co-sponsored a
UN Security Council resolution last September demanding
the withdrawal of foreign troops from Lebanon, have
been the most vocal in insisting on a UN inquiry.
has refused to take the blame for Hariri's killing.
is the main loser ... and (Hariri) was the most pro-Syrian"
among Lebanese leaders, the Syrian ambassador in London,
Sami al-Khiami, told the BBC on Sunday.
government daily Tishrin accused Washington and Israel
of leading a "campaign of intimidation"
against Damascus and its backers in Beirut since Hariri's
told journalists: "Unmasking the circumstances
of this crime is our number one priority, not only
because it is a national duty but also to calm people's
spirits and put a stop to the false accusations being
parties have accused the government and Syria of being
behind the bomb blast on the Beirut seafront, which
also killed 14 other people.
Interior Minister Suleiman Frangieh, who earlier rejected
the idea of an international inquiry commission, said
on Sunday on television: "If people want to help
us, all right, but this is a sovereign state. Lebanon
is capable of leading an inquiry; there is no question
of giving up our sovereignty."
meeting of pro-Syrian Lebanese political leaders on
Sunday rejected calls for the government to quit.
In a statement read by Berri they said a committee
had been formed "charged with making contact
with all parties, without exception" to bring
Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, viewed as the main opposition
leader in Lebanon, rejected calls for dialogue and
said only talks directly with Damascus could help
resolve the crisis caused by Hariri's killing.
large demonstration called by the opposition for Monday,
in defiance of government warnings, is to coincide
with a Brussels summit between the US and French presidents.
mounting war of words has prompted another call for
calm from Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir, spiritual leader
of Lebanon's Maronite Christians, the community from
which much of the longstanding opposition to Syria's
catastrophe ... has stirred emotions. But national
issues should not be handled with emotional reactions,
but with moderation, planning and dialogue,"
Prime Minister Bertie Ahern announced late Friday
that police Deputy Commissioner Peter Fitzgerald had
been made available to the United Nations to head
the probe into Hariri's killing.
of people continue to converge each evening on Martyrs'
Square where Hariri was buried, to shout "Syria
Out" and "Down with the government,"
despite warnings from the authorities that they will
start enforcing a ban on illegal gatherings.
Minister Abdel Rahim Mrad has vowed that the authorities
"will not allow any security breaches" after
the mourning period which officially ended on Friday.
He had also said that the government was poised to
boycott the probe decided by the UN Security Council.
deteriorating situation in Lebanon has apparently
convinced Arab League chief Amr Mussa to bring forward
a visit to an increasingly isolated Syria which had
been planned for Wednesday.
was expected to travel to Damascus Sunday evening
for talks the following day with President Bashar
al-Assad and Foreign Minister Faruq al-Shara.
Switzerland for explosive experts in Hariri assassination
Swiss government said Friday that Lebanon has requested
help from Swiss experts on explosives and DNA analysis
as part of its investigation into the attack this
week that killed former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq
have received a written request from the attorney
general of Lebanon.
are currently evaluating the request," said Carine
Carey, a spokesperson for the Swiss ministry of foreign
said it is hunting for six people who flew from Beirut
for Australia, leaving traces of explosives on aircraft
seats, hours after a powerful bomb killed Hariri and
14 others on Monday.
Wednesday, the Lebanese judiciary decided to seek
the help of Swiss experts to probe the murder, after
the authorities said that expertise from a "neutral
country" could be brought in.
Switzerland agrees, the country's police ministry
will take part in evaluating the request and help
identify the specialists that Lebanon needs.
hunts suspects after TNT traces found on Australia-bound
said Friday it is hunting for six people who flew from
Beirut for Australia, leaving traces of explosives on
aircraft seats, hours after a powerful bomb killed former
prime minister Rafiq Hariri.
people left for Australia from Beirut airport a few
hours after the attack and traces of TNT powder were
recovered from the seats used by some of them,"
Justice Minister Adnan Addum said.
people have links with fundamentalist circles. I can't
say more because of the demands of the investigation,"
hitherto unknown Islamist group claimed it carried
out Mondaay's bombing, saying it was in revenge for
Hariri's links with Saudi Arabia where security forces
have killed members of extremist groups. It gave no
proof of its involvement.
officials have said the attack was probably carried
out by a suicide bomber but some have speculated that,
given the widespread damage and force of the blast,
the explosives could have been planted under the road
before Hariri's convoy passed.
has called in Swiss experts and DNA experts to help
with the inquiry.
Syria not involved
in Hariri murder, not afraid of probe: ambassador
Syria's ambassador to France, Siba Nasser, reaffirmed
Wednesday that her country had nothing to do with
the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister
Rafic Hariri and said Damascus did not fear an international
inquiry as called for by Paris.
don't fear an international inquiry. Syria had nothing
to do with it," she told French radio station
"If the Lebanese government accepts it (the inquiry),
we will accept it," she said.
may be that the Lebanese will soon ask neutral countries
such as European states to help them look for clues,"
which maintains 14,000 troops in neighbouring Lebanon,
is under pressure from a UN resolution put forward
by France and the United States for it to cease influencing
is seen as largely directing the actions of the current
Lebanese government and has become a prime suspect
in speculation as to who killed Hariri and 14 other
people in a massive bomb blast in Beirut on Monday.
a 60-year-old billionaire who spearheaded Lebanon's
postwar reconstruction, resigned as prime minister
last October while calling for Syria to stop its meddling
in his country's affairs.
told Europe 1 that Hariri "was a big friend of
Syria" and asserted that Damascus "does
not want a permanent or indefinite presence in Lebanon."
said the Syrian soldiers were there at the request
of the Lebanese government and if ever it asked them
to withdraw, "well, then, we would leave."
after Monday's assassination, France called for an
international investigation into the blast. President
Jacques Chirac announced he would attend Hariri's
Tuesday, the UN Security Council condemned the "terrorist"
attack and asked for a report into the "circumstances,
causes and consequences" of the killing of Hariri.
killer bomb was in tunnel: opposition
Feb 16 (AFP) - Former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri
was killed by a bomb placed in a tunnel, Druze Opposition
MP Marwan Hamadeh suggested in statements published
Wednesay in the An-Nahar newspaper.
Minister Suleiman Franjieh said Tuesday that Hariri
and 14 other people were probably killed by a suicide
car bomber, but that investigators were still looking
for concrete evidence.
citing unconfirmed reports, said explosives were placed
in a tunnel in an area where public works maintenance
took place a few days before the attack, the newspaper
part of the seafront road had been closed to traffic,
the newspaper quoted Hamadeh as saying.
retired Lebanese army general, Shehade Maaluf, is
also quoted by An-Nahar as saying he believes that
the explosion was caused by a bomb placed in a tunnel
because of the size of the crater it blasted in the
said a close examination of asphalt debris scattered
across 300 meters (yards) in the area of the explosion
could help solve the mystery.
attack caused destruction and carnage not seen since
the days of the 1975-1990 civil war.
his part, Franjieh said "the vehicle was not
parked along the side of the road. The crater dug
by the explosion was in the middle of the road. So
the vehicle was alongside (Hariri's) convoy and could
have tried to ram into
is possible that it was a suicide bomber who was driving
it," he said.A shadowy Islamist group claimed
in a videotape that it was behind the attack, but
experts suggested it required highly sophisticated
technology that only a well organised group or government
on Tuesday Druze leader Walid Jumblatt scoffed at
the claim and accused the Syrian and pro-Damascus
Lebanese regimes of "eliminating" Hariri
and an attack against Hamadeh.
a former minister and deputy of Jumblatt, survived
an assassination attempt in October, only yards away
from where Hariri was killed.
to seek Swiss expert help to probe Hariri murder Lebanonwire
decided Wednesday to seek the help of Swiss experts
to probe the murder of former prime minister Rafiq
Hariri, judicial sources said.
examining magistrate of Lebanon's military tribunal,
Rashid Mezher, has decided to seek the help of Swiss
experts specialised in explosives and DNA, the sources
Interior Minister Suleiman Franjieh has rejected a
French proposal for an international inquiry into
Monday's assassination of Hariri in a huge Beirut
blast but not ruled out assistance from experts of
a neutral country.
storm Hariri bomb claimer's home
security forces have stormed the Beirut home of a
man they identified as a Palestinian who appeared
in a video claiming responsibility for the killing
of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik al-Hariri.
Lebanese security forces statement said Ahmed Tayseer
Abu Adas was not in the house. He had earlier appeared
in a video aired by Al Jazeera claiming responsibility
killing Hariri and calling him a Saudi agent.
were investigating whether he had blown himself up
in the car bombing
that killed Hariri or whether he was an accomplice
in plotting the attack, the statement said.
equipment and tapes were seized from his house and
some documents were confiscated for investigation,"
it said. Early investigations had shown he was a member
of an Islamic school of thought known as Wahhabism
-- an austere form of Islam practised in Saudi Arabia.
governments and moderate Muslim clerics have said
this brand of faith, which rules all aspects of life,
was fomenting extremism.
tape broadcast by Al Jazeera showed Abu Adas sitting
in front of a black flag carrying the name "Group
for Advocacy and Holy War in the Levant".
called Hariri a Saudi agent and said the attack was
also "in revenge for the pious martyrs killed
by security forces of the Saudi regime" and used
a religious term for Saudi Arabia often used by al
Qaeda militants fighting Riyadh's US-allied government
Levant is the historical name of the region including
today's Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestinian territories
bloody history of political assassinations
Al-Hariri, the former Lebanese Prime Minister who
was killed Monday in a car bomb explosion in Beirut,
is among several other political figures who have
been assassinated in Lebanon over the past three decades.
March 1977 - Kamal Jumblatt, Druze leader, was killed
in an ambush in his Shouf mountain fiefdom in central
June 1978 - Tony Franjieh, son of former President
Suleiman Franjieh, was killed in raid by Christian
militia rivals at his home in Ehden, north Lebanon.
Sept 1982 - Bashir Gemayel, elected president, was
killed in a bomb explosion before he takes office.
June 1987 - Lebanon's veteran Prime Minister Rashid
Karami was killed by a bomb in an army helicopter
May 1989 - Grand Mufti Sheikh Hassan Khaled, head
of Lebanon's Sunni community, was assassinated in
a car explosion in Beirut. 22 people were also killed
and 80 others were wounded in the blast.
Nov 1989 - President Rene Muawad, a Syrian-backed
Maronite Christian, was killed in a huge bomb explosion
Oct 1990 - Dany Chamoun, chairman of the National
Liberal Party and former Christian militia leader,
was shot dead in Christian suburb of Beirut.
Feb 1992 – Israeli agents assassinated Abbas
Mussawi, leader of Hezbollah resistance group, in
helicopter attack of his convoy in south Lebanon.
Jan 2002 - Elie Hobeika, former minister and leader
of pro-Israeli Christian group involved in 1982 massacre
of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, was killed in
May 2002 - Mohammad Jihad Ahmed Jibril, son of Ahmed
Jibril, leader of Popular Front for the Liberation
of Palestine General-Command (PFLP-GC), was assassinated
Feb 2005 - Former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Al-Hariri
was killed in a powerful car explosion that destroyed
his convoy on Beirut's seafront.
Hariri probably killed by suicide car bomb
said on Tuesday that former prime minister Rafiq Hariri
was almost certainly killed in a suicide car bombing
and ruled out an international probe into his death.
security services are almost sure that it was a suicide
car bomb. It is not an official announcement but it
is almost sure," Interior Minister Suleiman Franjieh
Franjieh told a press conference.
he said there was no question of an international
investigation as called for by Lebanon's former colonial
rulers France, among others.
attack killed 14 people in addition to Hariri and
wounded about 100 more.
international inquiry is unacceptable. Investigators
will, if necessary, call upon experts from neutral
countries," he said.
said investigators were still looking for concrete
evidence on the attack, adding that human remains
found at the scene would be tested for DNA.
vehicle was not parked along the side of the road.
The crater dug by the explosion was in the middle
of the road. So the vehicle was alongside (Hariri's)
convoy and could have tried to ram into it.
is possible that it was a suicide bomber who was driving
it," he said.
previously unknown Islamist group claimed it was behind
the attack, in a video broadcast on Al-Jazeera television
wal Jihad fi Bilad al-Sham (Victory and Jihad in Greater
Syria) said it carried out what it called a suicide
attack because of Hariri's close ties with the Saudi
regime, but it provided no proof of the claim.
a self-made billionaire, had close business ties with
the Saudi royal family and was a frequent visitor
to the oil-rich Gulf state which has been a key financial
backer of Lebanon.