Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Lebanese minister assassinated

Pierre Ishmail Gemayel, Lebanon’s Christian Industry Minister, has been assassinated. His convoy was intercepted by gunmen as it made its way through the capital Beirut. Pictures shown on Al-Jazeera and CNN showed the car, in which he was traveling, riddled with bullets. Gemayel had already survived previous attempts on his life. But today the assassin's bullet made its mark. Blame has been attributed to Syria. Reaction from world leaders and politicians has been swift. The British PM Tony Blair said he “condemned this murder utterly” and said everything must be done to protect Fouad Siniora’s government and democracy in Lebanon. The French Foreign Minister said the killing was an attempt to “an attempt to destabilise the country” whilst the US Secretary of State described the killing as a “terrorist act”. Russia, already in the news in connection with an assassination attempt in London, said it condemned the “resumption of political assassinations” in Lebanon. Hezbollah has also condemned the attack, though their view will be looked at somewhat cynically by many.
The killing is a further blow to the Lebanese government which has already seen resignations in recent days. Lebanon has seen assassinations before. Less than two years ago former PM Rafik Al Hariri was killed by a truck bomb. That assassination was attributed to the Syrian regime by the UN. Syria has denied this and has already condemned this latest attack on the Lebanese government. Other reports from Al Arabiya said there had been shots aimed at another minister’s office in the capital, but as yet these reports are unconfirmed. [Other reports: Sky / BBC / CNN / Al-Jazeera] .

No comments: