New report links Hizbullah to Hariri assassination
BEIRUT UN-backed investigators have found that members of Hizbullah were behind the assassination in 2005 of Lebanese prime minister Rafik al-Hariri, Canadian public broadcaster CBC News has reported, citing inquiry sources and documents.
It said evidence gathered by Lebanese police and UN-backed investigators points overwhelmingly to the fact that the assassins were from Hizbullah . Hizbullah, part of a unity government led by Mr Hariri s son Saad, has repeatedly denied a role in the killing. Its leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has said he will not allow the arrest of any of its members.
Hizbullah said yesterday it had no comment on the CBC News report. UN spokesman Farhan Haq said the UN was aware of the report but was not commenting for now.
Hizbullah and western diplomats say an expected indictment against members of the group could come late this year or early in 2011. Lebanese politicians fear a crisis and possible relapse into violence if this happens.
CBC News said on Sunday it had obtained mobile telephone and other telecommunications-related evidence at the core of the case.
It said the investigators in 2007 asked a British firm to analyse telephone calls made in Lebanon in 2005. What the British analyst showed them (the UN investigators) was nothing less than the hit squad that had carried out the murder, or at least the phones they had been carrying at the time, CBC News said.
Lebanon charged two employees at state-run mobile phone firm Alfa with spying for Israel earlier this year. They were arrested as part of a wider espionage investigation which has led to more than 50 arrests since April last year. The arrests prompted debate on how deeply Israel had infiltrated Lebanon s telecoms and security sectors.
Hizbullah suggested Israel could have used telecom agents to manipulate evidence such as telephone records to implicate the group in Mr Hariri s killing.
Hizbullah has accused the UN s Special Tribunal for Lebanon of being an Israeli tool and said its investigators are sending information to Israel. The investigation had first implicated Syrian and Lebanese officials, although it later held back from giving details. Saad Hariri had blamed Syria for killing his father, but later said he was wrong to accuse Syria.
The CBC News report is close to one published by German magazine Der Spiegel in 2009 in which it cited information it had obtained saying investigators believed Hizbullah was behind Mr Hariri s killing. (Reuters)