A top Lebanese security official closely allied to Sunni leader Saad Hariri was killed in the massive car bombing in Beirut on Friday, Liz Sly and Ahmed Ramadan of the Washington Post report.The official, Maj. Gen. Wissam al-Hassan, headed the national police intelligence unit and was famous for having led the investigation that exposed the alleged role by the Shiite Hezbollah movement in the assassination of Hariri’s father in 2005.
“This is a big, big, big event, and one cannot begin even to think through the repercussions,” Mohammed Chatah, an adviser to Hariri, told the Post. “Wissam al-Hassan was a very important man in Lebanese politics, he was an important man in the great divide splitting the country and he was an important man in the police work that has uncovered many sensitive things.”
The advisor noted that the assassination can only be understood in light of al-Hassan’s investigative work and closeness to the Hariri family.
Lebanese Sunni Muslims taken to the streets across the country, some burning tires, to protest the killing of al-Hassan.
Former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri has accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Reuters reports, and The New York Times quotes a member of Lebanese parliament who said it “is clear that the Syrian regime is responsible.”
The Times notes that there were offices of two Lebanese political groups that oppose Assad near the blast site, Assad has long been an influential political force in Lebanon and he is closely aligned with Hezbollah.
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