Hariri inquiry makes headway

Assassination investigation report finds link with 14 other attacks in Lebanon.

    Brammertz has sought to interview Syrian
    officials as part of his investigation

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    Brammertz said investigators sought from Damascus "information, artifacts, electronic media and documentation about certain individuals and groups. 


    "The level of assistance provided by Syria during the reporting period remains generally satisfactory. The commission will continue to request Syria's full co-operation, which remains crucial to the swift and successful completion of its work."


    Shortly before his death, al-Hariri had criticised Syria's decades-long domination of Lebanon. He was particularly opposed to Syrian pressure to renew the presidential mandate of Emile Lahoud, who remains president today.


    Syria denies involvement in the al-Hariri assassination. Street protests in Lebanon after the killing prompted Syria to withdraw forces that had been in the country for 22 years.


    The Security Council, which created the UN commission to investigate al-Hariri's death, later asked it to look into 14 other apparently politically motivated attacks that followed.


    Gemayel killing added


    The recent assassination of Pierre Gemayel, Lebanon's industry minister and an anti-Syrian figure, has been added to the case file.


    "The commission's work on the 14 cases continues to elicit significant links between each case and to indicate links to the Rafik Hariri case"

    Serge Brammertz, chief of the UN inquriy into the al-Hariri assassination

    "The commission's work on the 14 cases continues to elicit significant links between each case and to indicate links to the Rafik Hariri case," Brammertz said. 


    His report said current findings suggest six of the attacks targeted individuals with known political leanings.


    The other eight attacks aimed to "spread fear among the population" and "destabilise the security situation", he said.


    The latest evidence gathered by the commission staff strongly suggested the bomb that killed al-Hariri was set off by a man standing right next to, or who was inside, the Mitsubishi van where the explosive was believed hidden, Brammertz said.


    Previous commission reports had referred to the man now seen as the presumed suicide bomber as in his early 20s and not of Lebanese origin, due to a particular characteristic of a tooth found at the site.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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