Lebanon's former PM Hariri blames Assad for Beirut bomb

BEIRUT Fri Oct 19, 2012 2:29pm EDT

Lebanon's former caretaker Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri smiles after meeting with Lebanon's President Michel Suleiman at the presidential palace in Baabda, near Beirut, during the start of the two-day parliamentary consultations to choose a new prime minister, in this January 24, 2011 file photo. REUTERS/ Mohamed Azakir/Files

Lebanon's former caretaker Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri smiles after meeting with Lebanon's President Michel Suleiman at the presidential palace in Baabda, near Beirut, during the start of the two-day parliamentary consultations to choose a new prime minister, in this January 24, 2011 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/ Mohamed Azakir/Files

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BEIRUT (Reuters) - Former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Friday of being behind the huge car bomb which killed a senior Lebanese intelligence official in central Beirut.

Asked by Lebanon's Future Television who was responsible for the killing, Hariri replied: "Bashar Hafez al-Assad," giving the full name of the Syrian president.

"Who killed Wissam al-Hassan is as clear as day. Certainly the Lebanese people will not be silent over this heinous crime and I, Saad Hariri, promise that I will not be silent," he said.

Hariri's father, Rafik al-Hariri, was killed seven years ago in a bombing which his supporters blamed on Damascus and its ally in Lebanon, Hezbollah.

Druze leader Walid Jumblatt said Hassan's death made Lebanon less safe. "He was our protector. This is a harsh blow but we will not be scared and we should not accuse anyone inside Lebanon so we don't give Bashar an excuse to seize the country."

"There is an intelligence agency that is deeply rooted in Lebanon - the Syrian intelligence. There's more than one Michel Samaha in the country," Jumblatt told Lebanese television, referring to a pro-Assad Lebanese politician who was arrested in August over a suspected bomb plot linked to Damascus.

(Reporting by Laila Bassam and Mariam Karouny; Writing by Dominic Evans; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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