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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Syria Dismisses UN Probe Into Hariri Assassination

21 October 2005

Syria has dismissed as false and "completely political" a United Nations report linking some of its top intelligence officials to the February assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

U.N. investigator Detlev Mehlis issued a 54-page report Thursday, saying the assassination was planned over many months. It implicates, among others, Syria's military intelligence chief Asef Shawkat, who is the brother-in-law of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

In Beirut, anti-Syrian legislators hailed the findings and renewed their calls for Lebanese President Emile Lahoud - a close ally of Syria - to resign.

Mr. Mehlis' report says President Lahoud received a telephone call from a suspect in Mr. Hariri's assassination shortly before it occurred. The president's office has denied the accusation and says he has no intention of stepping down.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has extended the investigation until December 15.

Some information for this report provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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