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Timeline: Assassination History of Lebanon since 2000

Accusations and motivations multiply in Lebanese political murders


Assassinations are virtually a cliché in Lebanon, as the startling regularity of their occurrence suggests. Although they are often called acts of "terrorism" by one or another interested party, they are part of the fabric of Lebanon's often unstable political landscape, and many –often murky—motivations lie behind them. No assassination since 1976 has been solved.

January 24, 2002: Elie Hobeika

Hobeika was a fomer Christian Lebanese Forces commander and a parliamentarian with a pro-Syrian bent at the time of his assassination. However, he had been identified by Israel as playing a leading role in the 1982 massacre of Palestinians in two Lebanese refugee camps, during Israel's Lebanese invasion. Hoebeika's agreement in 2002 to speak at a trial Palestinians were bringing against Israel for the massacre gave rise to speculation he may have been assassinated by Israel.

May 20, 2002: Mohammed Jihad Jibril

Jibril was the head of of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) in Lebanon was killed by a car bomb. Israel was thought to be behind the explosion, but denied any responsibility

August 2, 2003: Ali Hussein Salah

Salah was a Hezballah member and driver working for the Iranian embassy, when he was killed. According to Zvi Bar'el, a journalist for Israeli newspaper, Ha'aretz, the object of attack was a senior Hezballah member who was supposed to be in the car at the time, but was not.

July 19, 2004: Ghaleb Awali

Hezballah member Awali was killed by a bomb exploded outside his home in Beirut. In Hezballah head Hassan Nasrallah's eulogy he praised Awali as a "martyr of Palestine," making it clear that Awali had worked on behalf of activities or operations by Palestinian groups. A Sunni group, Jund al Sham (Soldiers of greater Syria), claimed responsibility for the assassination, but Hezballah pointed the finger at Israel.

February 14, 2005: Rafiq Hariri

The Sunni anti-Syrian former prime minister was killed by a massive car bomb that killed about 15 other people. The most prominent suspect in the murder has been Syria but it has also been argued that Syria had little to benefit from provoking anti-Syrian sentiment. A U.N. tribunal was scheduled in 2006 to investigate Syria's potential role in the assassination.

June 2, 2005: Samir Qassir

Hawi, a longtime leader of the Lebanese Communist party and lifelong activist on behalf of Lebanese autonomy and the Palestinian cause, was killed along with his driver by a bomb placed under his car. He was opposed to Syrian interference in Lebanese affairs, but also well known for his thoughtful and dialogic approach to political issues.

December 12, 2005: Gibran Tueni

Tueni was the publisher of Lebanese daily newspaper an-Nahar and a member of Parliament when he was killed by a car bomb in 2005. He was well-known for his 2000 "Open Letter" to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, in which he criticized Syrian interference.

May 26, 2006: Mahmud Majzoub

Majzoub, the leader of Islamic Jihad in Lebanon, was assassinated along with his brother, Nidal, by a car bomb. Majzoub was also known as Abu Hamza. Lebanese authorities accused the Israeli Mossad of the attack.

November 21, 2006: Pierre Gemayel

Maronite Christian parliamentarian Gemayel was stopped in his car and shot at close range by several gunmen. His murder took place in the midst of a standoff between lawmakers calling for the UN tribunal to investigate Hariri's assassination and Syrian-allied members, led by Hezballah, seeking to block it. March 14 bloc party members accused Syria of the assassination.

June 13, 2007: Walid Eido

Anti-Syrian parliamentarian Eido was killed when his booby trapped car exploded. The blast also killed his son, two bodyguards and six others.

September 19, 2007: Antoine Ghanem

Ghanem was an MP affiliated with the Christian Phalange party associated with the March 14 bloc—a collection of parties united by their opposition to Syrian involvement in Syria. His assassination came a few days before parliament was set to begin deciding a new president, and his assassination, on the heels of those of other anti-Syrian MPs, was seen by many as an effort to affect the election in favor of the incumbent pro-Syrian president's bloc.

January 25, 2008: Wissam Eid

A car bomb killed Eid, a police investigator working to collect evidence to explain Hariri's and others' assassinations.

Read more: Questions over Lebanese Assassination Abound

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