Mohamad Chatah, a former Minister in Lebanon, who opposed President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, and four others were killed in a huge bomb blast that had targeted Chatah’s car on Friday in Beirut, said security forces.
Chatah, who was 62 and a Sunni Muslim, was a vocal critic of the Shi’ite Hezbollah movement in Lebanon and an adviser for Saad al-Hariri the former Prime Minister. Shortly after the bomb blast, Hariri accused the Hezbollah of being involved in the bomb attack.
Hariri said the suspects are the ones who have fled international justices and refused to go before an international tribunal. He was referring to the five suspects from Hezbollah indicted for the killing of his father in 2005.
The trial of those five suspects is set to open in January in The Hague. All five remain fugitives and Hezbollah, which has denied any role in Hariri’s assassination refused to cooperate with the international court, which it states is just politically motivated.
Chatah had tweeted just minutes before the bomb blast that the Shi’ite movement was attempting to take over control of Lebanon.
The tweet said Hezbollah was pressing hard to receive similar powers in foreign policy and security matters that had been exercised in Lebanon by Syria for more than 15 years.
The bomb explosion shock buildings and homes nearby and caused resident to flee their homes into the streets of downtown.
Lebanon has become polarized from the conflict taking place in Syria, one of Lebanon’s neighbors. The sectarian tensions have been increased. Fighters from Hezbollah have joined Syrian government forces to fight for Assad, who is a member of the Alawite sect, a Shi’ite Islam heterodox offshoot.
Some of the rebel groups in Syria fighting against Assad have links to al-Qaeda. Marwan Hamadeh, a former minister, who survived a 2004 car bomb, said that Hezbollah would not rule Lebanon. He said it did not matter the amount of destruction it causes or the blood it spills, it would still not rule.
Sources close to the site of the explosion said that Chatah had been headed to a meeting at the headquarters of Hariri, when the bomb explosion tore his car apart.