With Lebanon reeling from yet another political assassination, deep divisions have been highlighted within the country’s government.
The latest bomb attack targeted a newspaper magnate and prominent anti-Syrian member of parliament. It sparked a cabinet call for the UN Security Council to investigate this and other recent murders. But as an appeal was made for an international tribunal to be created to probe the February killing of ex-Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, several pro-Syrian members of the government announced that they were suspending participation in the cabinet. The heightened tension triggered by Gebran Tueni’s death was also evident outside the headquarters of the liberal newspaper he ran in Beirut. As news of his killing spread, supporters shouted insults at Syria and men and women wept in the street. The father of the murdered man was among those who gathered. Ghassan Tueni’s son had only just returned to Lebanon from Paris where he had been staying amid fears he was on a hit list for assassination. The latest killing came as a UN inquiry into Hariri’s murder said new evidence further implicated Syria. Damascus has denied any role in the killings.