U.N. tribunal hears Hezbollah said Syria would kill Rafiq Hariri: report

German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, left, and the Prime Minister of Lebanon Rafic Hariri review the honour guards after Hariri's arrival in Bonn Chancellory Tuesday, October 10, 1995. (AP)

Weeks before former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri was assassinated, two senior Hezbollah officials were shocked that Hariri had turned down requests from the Syrian government, the slain statesman’s media advisor told the U.N. tribunal on Hariri’s killing.

Hariri’s media advisor Hani Hammoud was speaking at the U.N.’s Special Tribunal for Lebanon, set up to prosecute those behind Hariri’s 2005 assassination.

Hariri’s killing, who died after a massive car bomb blast struck his motorcade in 2005, has long been a source of contention, with the Syrian regime or Hezbollah believed by many authorities to be responsible.

Hammoud told the tribunal that less than two months before Hariri’s assassination, the late renowned journalist Nassir al-Asaad described to him a meeting he had had with Hezbollah political council chief Sayyed Ibrahim Amin al-Sayyed, Beirut-based newspaper The Daily Star reported.

During the meeting, Sayyed had purportedly expressed anger and shock that Hariri did not accept pro-Syrian candidates on his electoral list, as he used to do.

“Has Rafiq Hariri gone crazy? Doesn’t he know those people will kill him?” Hammoud said he recalled Asaad as telling him. Asaad was them convinced that the Syrian government wanted Hariri killed.

Later, in a meeting, Asaad warned Hariri, who seemed to ignore him, Hammoud said.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:46 - GMT 06:46