Remembering Hariri. Mystery about to be solved?
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Hezbollah leader Nasrallah. Evidence leads to him
Photo: Reuters

Report: Hezbollah linked to Hariri murder

Canadian Broadcasting Corp says Lebanese police officer and UN investigators unearthed extensive circumstantial evidence implicating Syrian-backed movement in February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister. UN faulted for misplacing vital piece of evidence

WASHINGTON - Hezbollah is responsible for the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. This conclusion, based on circumstantial evidence, has been unearthed by United Nations investigators and a Lebanese officer, who was assassinated following the revelations, according to an investigation by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.


According to the report, the UN International Independent Investigation Commission's findings are based on an elaborate examination of Lebanese phone records. They suggest that Hezbollah men communicated with the owners of cell phones allegedly used to coordinate the detonation that killed Hariri and 22 others in Beirut on February 14, 2005.


The Lebanese and UN phone analysis was obtained by CBC and shared with The Washington Post. According to the Washington Post, the revelations are likely to add to speculation that a UN prosecutor plans to indict members of Hezbollah by the end of the year.


The Head of the UN tribunal, Canadian prosecutor Daniel Bellemare, declined a request to comment and told CBC that the investigation's findings would be presented at the international court.


According to the Washington Post, the latest findings mark a major development in an investigation. CBC uncovered an internal UN document indicating that a top Lebanese intelligence official, Colonel Wissam al-Hassan, was considered by some UN sleuths as a potential suspect in Hariri's murder.


Suspect not investigated

Hassan, who serves as Lebanon's key liaison with the UN investigators, oversaw security for Hariri at the time of the assassination but had taken the day off to take an examination at a university.


An internal UN memo, dated March 10, 2008, said Hassan's "alibi is weak and inconsistent" and recommended that he be "investigated quietly" to determine whether he played a role in Hariri's killing. The CBC report states that the recommendation was not implemented and that Hassan was not questioned.


The report obtained by the Canadian network faults the UN for misplacing a vital piece of evidence - a complex analysis of Lebanese phone records that allegedly pinpointed the phones used by Hariri's killers - in the early months of the investigation.


The UN commission is also criticized for failing to provide sufficient security for a key Lebanese officer, Colonel Wissam Eid, who was killed after helping the UN unravel the crime mystery.


Eid, a former student of computer engineering, had conducted a review of the call records of all cell phones that had been used in the vicinity of the Hotel St. George, where Hariri's convoy was bombed, the Washington Post reported.


He quickly established a network of "red" phones that had been used by the hit squad, established links with other small phone networks he suspected of being involved in planning the operation, and traced all the networks back to a landline at Hezbollah's Great Prophet Hospital in South Beirut, and a handful of government-issued cell phones set aside for Hezbollah.


"The Eid report was entered into the UN's database by someone who either didn't understand it or didn't care enough to bring it forward. It disappeared," CBC said.


According to the report, it would be another year and a half before a team of British investigators, working for the UN, discovered Eid's paper and contacted him. Eight days later, he was killed in a car bomb.



פרסום ראשון: 11.22.10, 10:19
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