|Hezbollah says it will not hand over its members indicted in the 2005 assassination of Rafiq al-Hariri [GALLO/GETTY]
Interpol has issued its highest-level international alerts against four Hezbollah men indicted in the assassination of Rafiq al-Hariri, Lebanon's former prime minister, official sources say.
Hezbollah, a Shia Muslim-backed political group with its own military wing, denies its men were involved and says they will not be handed over.
The Interpol red notices - the equivalent of an international most-wanted list - were issued at the request of the Netherlands-based Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) which investigated the February 14, 2005, killing in Beirut.
Confirming reports emanating from Lebanon, Marten Youssed, an STL spokesman, said on Sunday "the tribunal has requested Interpol to notify all states" of the arrest warrants.
"This comes as a request from STL prosecutor Daniel Bellemare," Youssed said.
"He has provided Interpol with the necessary information to issue red notices against each of the accused who remain anonymous because the contents of the indictments remains confidential."
Lebanon received the STL's indictments and four arrest warrants last month.
The Interpol alerts could deepen the crisis in Lebanon over how to deal with the STL's investigation.
Hezbollah dominates Lebanon's government and has thousands of guerrilla fighters, making it unlikely that authorities will be willing - or able - detain the men.
Najib Mikati, the Lebanese prime minister, issued a vague promise on Thursday that his country would respect international resolutions as long as they did not threaten the civil peace.
Hezbollah's alleged role in al-Hariri's assassination threatens to trigger renewed sectarian violence in the country as Sunni Muslim supporters of the party he led might take to the streets.
The two Muslim groups form the largest of Lebanon's mosaic of religious minorities.