Report: Hizbullah Activist Behind Hariri Assassination
An Israeli television report that aired on Thursday said that a Hizbullah activist is responsible for the assassination of a former Lebanese Prime Minister.The report that aired on Israel’s Channel 1 identified Mustafa Badr Aldin as the prime suspect in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri. Hariri, who was known for opposing Syrian interference in Lebanon, was assassinated on February 15, 2005 when explosives were detonated as his motorcade drove past the St. George Hotel in Beirut. Twenty two additional people were killed as a result of the explosion.
Aldin, suspected of being behind the assassination, is also the brother in-law of Hizbullah commander Imad Mughniyeh, killed in 2008 in a car-bomb attack in Damascus, while reportedly in the midst of planning major terrorist attacks in moderate Arab countries. Aldin’s name has been mentioned as a candidate to replace Mughniyeh as Hizbullah's chief operations officer.
The Channel 1 report stated that Aldin, also known by the name "Elias Sa'ab", commanded the failed attempt to assassinate Kuwait's ruler in 1985.
Laist Thursday Hizbullah head Nasrallah announced thqt Hizbullah members are expected to face charges in the Hariri assassination. He blamed the United States and Israel, saying the expected indictments were part of a Zionist and American plot to push their Middle East agenda. He suggested that Israel was in fact behind the assassination and said of the United Nations Special Tribunal that looked into the Hariri killing: “As long as it didn't focus on Israeli involvement, it's not an honest tribunal.”
Hizbullah has several times denied that it is behind the Hariri assassination. Last year, following an article in the German news weekly Der Spiegel that charged Hizbullah with being behind the assassination, Hizbullah called the report an Israeli-American conspiracy "aimed at sowing discord between [Lebanon's] Sunnis and Shi'ites."
Thursday’s report on Channel 1 added that current Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri (Rafik's son) is pressuring the tribunal not to publish Aldin’s identity as a prime suspect in his father’s killing due to his government's ties with Hizbullah, which is currently a part of Lebanon’s coalition government.
Meanwhile, Syrian President Bashar Assad and Saudi Arabian King Abdullah will travel to Beirut on Friday as part of the Saudi king’s tour of the Middle East. This will be the Saudi king’s first visit to the country since 2002. Assad and Abdullah are expected to meet with President Michel Sleiman as well as PM Hariri and members of his national unity government to discuss ways to maintain stability in Lebanon.