Lebanon’s industry and oil minister, Pierre Gemayel, a Christian and outspoken critic of Syria, has been killed in a gun attack. Authorities say gunmen opened fire on Gemayel’s convoy as it passed through the Christian Sin el-Fil suburb of Beirut. Gemayel was the son of the former president Amine Gemayel and a nephew of former President Bechir Gemayel, himself assassinated in 1982.
The country is currently embroiled in a political crisis, with the anti-Syrian ruling majority pitted against the pro-Damascus opposition. The parliamentary majority leader Saad al-Hariri, the son of the murdered former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, is quoted as saying “the hand of Syria” is behind the death. Damascus says it strongly condemns the killing. Pierre Gemayel entered politics in 2000 after legislative elections, and became minister in the government of Fouad Siniora in July last year.