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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

UN Investigator Reported Confident Syria Behind Hariri Assassination

17 December 2005

The head of the United Nations commission investigating the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri has directly accused Syria of being behind the February killing.

In an interview published Saturday in the Saudi-owned Asharq al-Awsat newspaper, outgoing U.N. investigator Detlev Mehlis said Syrian authorities are to blame. He also said he sees a link between the Hariri assassination and Monday's car bombing that killed prominent Lebanese publisher and lawmaker Gebran Tueni.

Mr. Mehlis, who stepped down from the commission on Thursday to return to his native Germany, has released two reports since October implicating Syrian and Lebanese intelligence officials in the Hariri murder.

Thursday, the U.N. Security Council extended the commission's mandate for another six months, but it will not include Mr. Tueni's murder or other recent attacks on prominent Lebanese critics of Syria.

Damascus has denied involvement in the Hariri killing.

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