Friday, October 19, 2012

Beirut assassination heightens fears of Syrian violence embroiling Lebanon

BEIRUT — A top Lebanese security official was killed Friday in a powerful car bombing in a densely populated neighborhood, an attack immedately blamed by the country’s anti-Syrian politicians on the government in Damascus.

The assassination brought the violence threatening to engulf the region to the heart of Lebanon’s capital after several years of relative calm, heightening fears that the sectarian tensions already aggravated by the Syrian conflict would erupt into outright war.

Maj. Gen Wissam al-Hassan, who headed the Information Department of the Internal Security Forces, was among at least eight people who died in the mid-afternoon blast in a quiet side street near Sassine Square in the city’s mostly Christian Ashrafiyeh area.

The swift allegations that Syria was responsible stemmed from Hassan’s close association with the Sunni-led anti-Syrian camp in Lebanon and with investigations into bombings and plots that had exposed the role played by Syria’s Lebanese allies, including the militant Shiite Hezbollah movement. Continue Reading.

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