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Protests in Lebanon follow murder of intelligence chief

Protests in Lebanon follow murder of intelligence chief
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Protests erupted across Lebanon on Friday night following the murder of the head of internal intelligence Wissam-al-Hassan in a huge car bomb.

He was killed along with seven others in central Beirut.

As news spread of his killing, groups of demonstrators blocked roads, burned tyres and attacked passing cars in several towns including the capital.

Hassan had been investigating the 2005 assassination of former prime minister Rafik al-Hariri, a probe which implicated Syria and the militant Islamist group Hezbollah.

Hariri’s son Ahmad blamed Damascus for the bomb attack and also called for the current Lebanese prime minister to step down.

‘‘We hold Prime Minister Najib Mikati personally responsible for the blood of the martyred General Hassan and the blood of the innocent people killed in Ashrafiyeh.”

Friday’s blast happened in a predominantly Christian area, as parents were picking up their children from school.

More than 80 people were wounded.

If the Syrian regime is implicated in the attack, it will add to concerns that the 20-month uprising is spilling into neighbouring countries.