UN probe identifies people linked to the Hariri assassination
Beirut (AsiaNews) – The United Nations Commission of Inquiry probing the February 12, 2005, killing of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri and 22 others has identified a number of people who may have been involved in “some aspect of the preparation and execution of the attack.” Other eight targeted bomb attacks might also be linked to Hariri’s, said Commission Chief, Belgian Serge Brammertz, in presenting UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon with the eighth report so far by the UN team. The Security Council is scheduled to discuss the report on July 19.
The report said that the inquiry had made significant progress and confirmed some findings. The 20-page document noted that Hariri's killing was political due to his role as an advocate of Security Council resolution 1559 (which urged foreign troop withdrawals from Lebanon), his opposition to constitutional changes which would have extended President Émile Lahoud’s mandate, and his views on a new electoral law. The occupying power Syria was particularly keen on getting the latter two adopted.
Brammertz said that Syria’s collaboration wit the commission was good overall but that he would continue to expect Damascus’ total co-operation
The report explained that the Mitsubishi Canter van used by the suicide bomber was probably stolen in Japan then shipped to the United Arab Emirates from where it was sent to a showroom near the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli and sold.
The report had little new on the bomber, whose identity is not known but who was not likely Lebanese. It did confirm that Ahmed Abu Adass, who appeared in a video claiming responsibility for the killing, had not carried it out, and that he was probably forced to “confess” and then killed.
Similarly, the investigation established that individuals who had used six cellular phone SIM cards to spy on Hariri before his killing had also "played a critical role in the planning and execution of the attack itself.”
The report said that the Commission would eventually hand over to an international tribunal approved by the Security Council.
It also expressed concern that the deteriorating security in Lebanon might hamper the UN inquiry, as shown by the clashes in Nahr al-Bared refugee camp, where the army is preparing its final assault, and the attack against Spanish UNFIL troops.