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Phoenicia Hotel 14 February 2005  

Hariri murdered in bomb attack    by: Daily Star.
Lebanon’s former prime minister and architect of the country’s reconstruction Rafik Hariri was killed in a huge car bomb explosion, along with at least nine others yesterday.
The explosion occurred just before 1 p.m.local time as Hariri was returning home from a Parliament meeting. He was taken to the American University Hospital in Beirut where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
The assassination of the high profile politician is set to throw the country into renewed instability against a backdrop of increasing calls for neighboring Syria to withdraw its 15,000 troops that remained stationed in Lebanon.
Heavily armed security forces cordoned off the bomb site with yellow tape as rescue workers and investigators combed the scene for casualties and clues as to the cause of the explosion.
At the time of going to press security forces had still not determined whether the explosion was caused by a car bomb or explosives planted in a nearby building. Lebanon’s former prime minister and architect of the country’s reconstruction Rafik Hariri was killed in a huge car bomb explosion, along with at least nine others yesterday. The explosion occurred just before 1 p.m.local time as Hariri was returning home from a Parliament meeting. He was taken to the American University Hospital in Beirut where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

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The assassination of the high profile politician is set to throw the country into renewed instability against a backdrop of increasing calls for neighboring Syria to withdraw its 15,000 troops that remained stationed in Lebanon.
Heavily armed security forces cordoned off the bomb site with yellow tape as rescue workers and investigators combed the scene for casualties and clues as to the cause of the explosion.
At the time of going to press security forces had still not determined whether the explosion was caused by a car bomb or explosives planted in a nearby building.
The blast, estimated to have been caused by at least 200 kilograms of high explosives, blew a 10-meter-wide crater in the street, shattering windows of hotels and apartment buildings, and severely damaging the main offices of the British HSBC bank, Phoenicia Inter-Continental Hotel, The Monroe and St. George Hotel, over a 500- meter radius.
At least nine others were killed in the attack and more than 25 were wounded (with some reports claiming as many as 100) in the explosion that damaged more than 50 cars – 20 of which were set ablaze outside the main offices of HSBC.
Interior Minister Suleiman Franjieh arrived on the scene shortly after the blast and met with security personnel,who at the time could neither confirm nor deny Hariri’s death.
While on the scene, Franjieh instructed all civil defense brigades stationed in the capital and surrounding suburbs to participate in supporting rescue efforts.
While the fire brigades battled flames from numerous fires, bystanders and paramedics made crude stretchers to carry the wounded to nearby hospitals. Although Hariri’s car was destroyed in the blast, others in the convoy escaped the attack.
Former minister Basil Fleihan suffered serious injuries. Former minister Samir Jisr escaped the blast unharmed. A previously unheard of group calling itself Victory and Jihad in the Levant claimed responsibility for Hariri’s assassination.
But military experts told The Daily Star that the magnitude of the blast suggested the work of a technically sophisticated group, with access to hi-tech explosives was behind the explosion rather than a small group. Internal Security Forces were able to identify the person who appeared on Al-Jazeera television claiming responsibility for the attack.
Justice Minister, Adnan Addoum, told reporters that the person was a Palestinian refugee living in the Tariq Jadida quarter in Beirut called Ahmed Abu al-Ads. Addoum said: “The security forces stormed his house and did not find him. His neighbors said he left home around midday,the time of the explosion, which means the investigation could lead to important information regarding the perpetrators.”
The state commissioner at the Military Court, John Fahd, presided over a security meeting and examined the evidence collected at the crime scene and from eyewitnesses.
The killing comes at a time of rising tension between Syria, Lebanon’s political master, and members of the opposition. Hariri resigned as prime minister and joined the opposition last October.
He was hoping to stage a comeback in legislative elections this May.







 
 
"There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face the reality; and then there are who turn one into the other."


Douglas Everett
 
 


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