A car bomb blast killed Lebanese newspaper magnate and anti-Syrian lawmaker Gebran Tueni in Beirut on Monday, a day after he returned from Paris, where he had based himself in recent months in fear of assassination.
Police said Tueni, publisher of An-Nahar newspaper, was among four people who died in the explosion that destroyed his armored sports utility vehicle as it was driving in the Mekalis area of mainly Christian east Beirut. Ten people were wounded.
At least three people inside his car were killed, their bodies charred beyond recognition, witnesses said.
Police sources said a parked car packed with 40 kg (88 pounds) of dynamite was detonated by remote control as Tueni's car passed by.
The blast occured just a few kilometers from the headquarters of the U.N. team investigating the assassination of former Premier Rafik Hariri.
Lebanon has been rocked by a series of mysterious explosions targeting anti-Syrians in recent months. Media reports have linked the bombings to the investigation into Hariri’s assassination as an attempt to derail the probe.
The explosion Monday came hours after chief U.N. investigator Detlev Mehlis submitted his report to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan on the investigation.
'Targeted because he was the voice of freedom'
In an earlier report in October, Mehlis implicated Syrian and allied Lebanese officials in the February truck bombing that killed Hariri and 20 others in Beirut.
Lebanese Druze leader and anti-Syrian MP Walid Jumblatt accused Syria of murdering Tueni.
Jumblatt told Al Jazeera television that Tueni's killing was linked to the Hariri probe.
Asked if he was jumping the gun by accusing Syria, he said: "This is my reading of the situation. We have had enough killings, enough assassinations. He (Tueni) was targeted because he was the voice of freedom, him and others like him."
"As the Mehlis report is presented to the Security Council, we got the message from the neighboring security apparatus ... The president of this security apparatus said sanctions on Syria will destabilize the Middle East."