A prominent anti-Syrian member of Lebanon’s parliament has been killed in a car bomb attack. Gebran Tueni was among four people killed in the explosion that destroyed his armoured vehicle as he drove through a mainly Christian part of the capital, Beirut. More than 30 other people were injured by the blast.
A previously unknown group has claimed it carried out the assassination. In a statement faxed to the Reuters news agency, the group calling itself, “Strugglers for the Unity and Freedom of the Levant” says the same fate awaits other opponents of “Arabism” in Lebanon. Tueni, 48, was publisher of a stauncly liberal newspaper. He was elected to parliament in this year’s vote that followed the murder of former prime minister Rafik al-Hariri in February. He had only just returned to Lebanon from France where he had based himself in recent months fearing assassination. Several Lebanese politicians have again accused Syria of being behind his death, the latest in a long line of attacks on anti-Syrian figures. Damascus has condemned the killing and denied any involvement. Hundreds of people protested outside the offices of Tueni’s newspaper calling for a wider UN inquiry into his death and that of columnist Samir Kassir, who died in a car bombing in June. The bombing also came hours after the United Nations chief investigator submitted his report on Hariri’s murder to the Security Council. It has called an emergency session to discuss the latest attack.