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UN Tribunal Convicts Hizbullah Member in Hariri Assassination
A man at a Beirut café is shown on Tuesday as he watches a live broadcast of UN-backed judges in The Netherlands delivering their verdict on the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafic Hariri. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

UN Tribunal Convicts Hizbullah Member in Hariri Assassination

A special United Nations tribunal has convicted Hizbullah member Salim Jamil Ayyash of involvement in the February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafic Hariri. “Mr. Ayyash had a central role in the execution of the attack and directly contributed to it,” Presiding Judge David Re told a courtroom in Leidschendam, Netherlands. “Mr. Ayyash intended to kill Mr. Hariri and had the required knowledge about the circumstances of the assassination mission, including that explosives were the means to be used.” Hariri and 21 others were killed in a massive truck-bombing along Beirut’s northern seaside promenade that destroyed several vehicles and caused massive damage to nearby buildings. Ayyash was one of four Hizbullah members to go on trial. Re said there was insufficient evidence to find the other three guilty although prosecutors had presented cellphone records to show that all four appeared to be monitoring Hariri’s movements for several months prior to the attack. They were tried in absentia. The panel also cleared Hizbullah as an organization, as it did Syria. Days before his death, Hariri had called on Damascus to end its occupation of parts of Lebanon, which it eventually did two and a half months later.

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