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Monday, February 14, 2005 

Islamists claim responsibility for assasination

An Islamist group 'Victory and Jihad in the Levant'* has claimed responsibility for today's bombing which killed former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.

The claim was made in a video aired on Al-Jazeera, which said he was killed becuase of his links with the Saudi government.

In the immediate aftermath, fingers had been pointed at Syria, with White House Spokesman Scott McLean indirectly condemning Syria in the US's first public reaction.

Hariri had been Prime Minister for most of the fifteen years since the end of Lebanon's Civil War. He led the post-war reconstruction and nation-building, and was the country's richest man.

He resigned last September. For the second time he felt unable to play second fiddle to Christian President Emile Lahoud.

He was expected to make a comeback in this May's Lebanese General Election.

(*n.b. 'Al-Nosra wal Jihad fi bilad Ash-Sham' has been incorrectly translated as 'Victory and Jihad in greater Syria' by some outlets*)

Scott McClellan is the White House spokesman, at least that is what I think.

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