Israel fingered in Hariri murder

2010-08-10 08:35
Beirut - Hezbollah's chief on Monday unveiled footage allegedly intercepted from Israeli surveillance planes of the site of the 2005 murder of ex-Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri prior to his assassination.

"Such footage generally comes as the first leg of the execution of an operation," the Shi'ite militant party's leader Hassan Nasrallah said in a news conference broadcast via video link.

Several clips, each minutes long and undated, showed aerial views of the coastline off mainly Sunni west Beirut on various days prior to the Hariri assassination.

Nasrallah, who has accused Israel of the February 15 2005 bombing which killed Hariri and 22 other people, said the footage was intercepted from Israeli MK surveillance aircrafts.

Hezbollah's chief said the images were not conclusive proof but noted that his party had no offices, positions or presence in the areas under surveillance that could have been of interest to its Israeli foes.

Biased

The alleged Israeli cameras panned across the popular Hamra district, Hariri's residences in west Beirut and parliament, his last stop before the killing in a seafront bomb blast.

The clips, aired on Hezbollah's al-Manar television, also showed close-up footage of a main highway and tunnel linking Beirut to Jounieh, a Christian city north of the capital.

Nasrallah, whose party is close to Iran and Syria, revealed in July he was aware the UN-backed tribunal probing the Hariri murder was likely to indict members of Hezbollah, slamming the court as biased and part of an Israeli plot.

His statement stirred fears of an outbreak of Sunni-Shi'ite unrest in already tense Lebanon and prompted a landmark summit in Beirut last month between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Saudi King Abdullah and Lebanese leaders.

The Hariri assassination triggered an international outcry and led to the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon in April 2005 after a deployment of almost three decades.

The Hariri murder has been widely blamed on Syria, although Damascus has consistently denied involvement.

Read more on:    rafiq hariri  |  lebanon  |  israel  |  middle east peace
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