Middle East
New leads in al-Hariri murder probe
Investigator says two teams may have worked to kill former Lebanese prime minister.
Last Modified: 28 Nov 2007 21:20 GMT
Brammertz delivered his final report on the al-Hariri case before starting a new role at the Hague [AFP]
A UN inquiry into the killing of a former Lebanese prime minister has suggested that that two or more teams may have prepared and carried out the assassination.
Serge Brammertz, leading an inquiry into the death of Rafiq al-Hariri in February 2005, said in his final report to the UN Security Council that the investigation had new leads.
"The commission has ... deepened and broadened its understanding of the possible involvement of a number of persons of interest," Brammertz said on Wednesday.
Al-Hariri and 22 others were killed in a massive bomb blast on Beirut's Corniche, months after he ended a term as Lebanese prime minister.
Brammertz said the inquiry team had found apparent links between some people under investigation.
"In addition to the progress made in linking various persons of interest to the commission of the crime, the commission has also established links between some of these persons," he said.
Final report
Brammertz said the investigating commission also confirmed that "operational links may exist" between the perpetrators of 18 other targeted assassinations and bomb attacks in Lebanon.
The report was issued just after the Security Council approved Brammertz's nomination to lead the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal in the Hague, Netherlands.
Daniel Bellemare, a former Canadian prosecutor, has been selected by Ban Ki-moon, UN secretary-general, to head the al-Hariri probe.
Investigators have confirmed that al-Hariri and 22 others were killed by a single blast from a van packed with 1,800kg of high explosives.
The investigators say that a single male was most likely to have carried out the actual attack.
Brammertz has not confirmed the view of Detlev Mehlis, the investigation's first chief, that Syrian and Lebanese intelligence services were involved in the attack.
Four Lebanese generals have been under arrest for almost two years for alleged involvement in the murders.
Syrian 'co-operation'
Syria has consistently denied involvement in al-Hariri's killing but withdrew its troops from Lebanon in April 2005 after widespread protests by Lebanese civilians in the wake of al-Hariri's death.
The Syrian pullout brought an end to 29 years of involvement by Damascus in Lebanon.
Brammertz said in Wednesday's report that Syrian co-operation with investigators "remains generally satisfactory".
He said the commission had made 11 requests for information to Syria in the last four months, bringing the total to 68 since January 2006.
The investigator also said "encouraging" progress had been made towards conclusions on the type of explosives used, the van, and the individuals involved in the surveillance on al-Hariri.
The commission had also investigated al-Hariri's leadership in the Sunni community, as a potential factor in a motive for his killing.
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