Posted by: sean | November 21, 2006

Pierre Gemayel Jr. assassinated

The Minister of Industry, Pierre Gemayel Jr., was assassinated today, shot while in his car in a Christian suburb of Beirut.

As it turns out, I was in the same area, near Sin el-Fil, this morning, but I must have already been back home by the time he was assassinated. Otherwise, on the way to buy credit for my telephone, I saw Gemayel supporters driving by with flags and honking their horns. Farther up the street, a few trash cans had been burned, presumably by supporters, but by the time I saw the burned mess in the street, security forces (police and military) were already there.

No one knows who did it, but people are already speculating. Samir Geagea of the Christian Lebanese Forces made public statements warning about assassinations last week, and Saad Hariri (whose father Rafik was assassinated in 2005 setting off protests that led to the withdrawal of Syria) said that “the hands of Syria are all over the place.”

In a second attack, in Ashrafiyeh, gunmen shot at the office of the state minister for parliamentary affairs, Michel Pharaon, a Christian MP from the ruling coalition.

For a timeline of political murders in Lebanon, click here.

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