Christian Leader Assassinated in Lebanon

21 11 2006

Filed under: Pierre Gamayel, Lebanon, Syria, Christian

The Lebanese Daily Star reports the assassination of another anti-Syrian Lebanese government official. The Christian’s name was Pierre Gamayel and he was a prominent Christian politician. He was shot in his car in Jdeideh on Tuesday.

Gemayel is the fifth figure to be assassinated in the past two years in Lebanon. Former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was killed in a massive car bombing in February 2005. The journalist and activist Samir Kassir and former Communist Party leader George Hawi were killed in separate car bombings in June last year in addition to lawmaker and newspaper manager Gibran Tueni was killed in a car bombing in December.

assassination

Notice the number of bullet holes in the driver-side window. Revolting.

The New York Sun:

The shooting will certainly heighten the political tension in Lebanon, where the leading Muslim Shiite party Hezbollah has threatened to topple the government if it does not get a bigger say in Cabinet decision-making.

Gemayel was rushed to a nearby hospital, according to the Lebanese Broadcasting Corp. and the Voice of Lebanon, the Phalange Party mouthpiece reported. The party later announced that he was dead.

Gemayel, the minister of industry and son of former President Amin Gemayel, was a supporter of the anti-Syrian parliamentary majority, which is locked in a power struggle with pro-Syrian factions led by Hezbollah.

Allah has a huge round up.
Michelle Malkin has other reactions.
Captain Ed:

Will this assassination resonate like Hariri’s? Perhaps. In the case of Hariri, Hezbollah attempted a counter-demonstration in the days of the Cedar Revolution, calling close to a half-million people into the streets. Lebanese patriots then performed a counter-counter demonstration that dwarfed Hezbollah’s and sent a powerful message to the Shi’ite radicals, one that had them reeling at the time.

The Beirut Beltway has eyewitness reports on protests amassing in the streets:

Update. Angry crowds are gathering outside the St Joseph hospital and chanting anti-Aoun and anti-Hizbullah slogans. As Anton Effendi said, this assassination guarantees that any street protest now will devolve into clashes. The Kataeb party, of which Gemayel is a member, is calling on people to excercise self restraint.

With this assassination, March 14 has lost a member of parliament and a cabinet minister. For the Assad regime, one less March 14 vote means one less vote to ratify the international tribunal.

The eyes now are on the UN Security council, which must endorse the international tribunal as soon as possible.

Update 2. Syrian-installed president Emile Lahoud has canceled the November 22nd independence day celebrations to mourn the loss of what he now referred to as a minister. Not long ago, he considered Gemayel and the rest of cabinet illegitimate following the resignation of the Shia ministers and the pro-Lahoud minister.

Meanwhile, Interior minister Ahmad Fatfat has accused Syria of standing behind Gemayel’s assassination.

Update 3. Geagea has called on Lahoud to resign immediately, accusing him of acting as a cover for the terrorist attacks. He also called on the Amal and Hizbullah ministers to return to the cabinet.

Update 4 (11am EST). The crowds outside the hospital are calling on people and March 14 to take to the streets.

Meanwhile, gunmen have fired shots at the office of another March 14 minister, Michel Faraoun in Ashrafieh.

It looks like March 14 is under attack.

March 14 leaders will meet tonight to decide on a course of action.

Update 5. A distraught Amin Gemayel (Pierre’s father) addressed the crowds. He asked all those who loved Pierre to preserve the cause he died for. He called for self-restraint so not to desecrate what he said is the cause for freedom. He asked everyone to use this night to pray and think about the meaning of martyrdom, and how to protect this country, away from revenge and irresponsible actions.

” We want the Lebanese cause to triumph. I hope all those who loved Pierre to safeguard the cause”, he said.

Update 6. Jumblatt visited the hospital and have a short statement. He affirmed that the international tribunal is coming. “We will not let them drag us to sedition.”

This assassination resulting from Hezbollah’s hold in Lebanon will undoubtedly trigger another protest. Last time, for Hariri, it was relatively peaceful. It was Hezbollah that became violent in their own protests. I don’t think this time around will be as peaceful. And rightfully so.

Breaking: U.S. denounces assassination

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