ANOTHER ASSACINATION:( few minutes ago) in beirut!
November 21, 2006 8:52am CST
BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanese Christian minister Pierre Gemayel, an outspoken critic of Syria, was assassinated near Beirut on Tuesday, security sources said. They said gunmen opened fire as his convoy drove through the Christian Sin el-Fil neighborhood. Gemayel was rushed to hospital where he later died of his wounds. Gemayel, a member of the Christian Phalange Party and industry minister, was the son of former President Amin Gemayel. He was an opponent of the influence in Lebanon of Syria, who many Lebanese blame for the February 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri. Lebanon is in the throes of a political storm pitting the anti-Syrian ruling majority against the pro-Damascus opposition. The political tension threatens to spill into street confrontations. Lebanon's Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said on Tuesday his depleted cabinet was legitimate despite the resignation of six pro-Syrian ministers, and warned that any anti-government protests could turn violent. Pro-Syrian Hezbollah and its allies are preparing to take to the streets to topple Siniora's government, which they accuse of being allied with the United States, arguing that it has lost its legitimacy since Shi'ite Muslims are no longer represented. The depleted cabinet last week approved draft U.N. statutes for a tribunal to try the killers of Hariri despite the resignation of six pro-Syrian ministers. Many Lebanese blame Syria for the killing of Hariri in a suicide truck bombing last year. Damascus denies involvement. A U.N. commission investigating the assassination has implicated senior Lebanese and Syrian security officials. Gemayel is the first anti-Syrian politician to be killed since Gebran Tueni, who was assassinated in a car bomb blast on December 12, 2005. (Additional reporting by Tom Perry and Yara Bayoumy) SOURCE: REUTERS http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=newsOne&storyID=2006-11-21T143806Z_01_L21814193_RTRUKOC_0_US-LEBANON-MINISTER.xml