Assassination of Mohamad Chatah
|Assassination of Mohamad Chatah|
|Location||Beirut Central District, Beirut, Lebanon|
|Date||27 December 2013
9:40 am (approximately)
At approximately 9:40am on 27 December 2013, a car bomb struck the convoy of Mohamad Chatah, a former Lebanese minister of finance and ambassador to the United States, in the Central District of Beirut, Lebanon. The bombing killed a total of eight people, among them Chatah, and injured seventy others. The bomb "was estimated to weigh more than 50 kilograms and was placed inside a stolen Honda car." The attack has been described as a political assassination of Chatah.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack. Immediately after the attack, accusations materialized about who is responsible: from Syria and Hezbollah allies on one side to Saudi Arabia and Salafists on other side, while some claimed other party did it to stoke sectarian tensions by making it appear like Syrian-Iranian-Hezbollah retaliation for earlier attacks. Leading members of the March 14 Alliance to which Chatah belonged held Hezbollah responsible for the assassination. Former prime minister Saad al-Hariri said, "Those who assassinated Mohamad Chatah are the ones who assassinated Rafik Hariri." March 14 Alliance also blamed Syria, but Damascus has rejected such accusations. Syria's Information Minister Omran al-Zohbi said, "These wrong and arbitrary accusations are made in a context of political hatred".
Former prime minister Saad al-Hariri accused Hezbollah of involvement in the killing of Chatah, saying it was "a new message of terrorism". "As far as we are concerned the suspects... are those who are fleeing international justice and refusing to represent themselves before the international tribunal," Hariri said, referring to the upcoming trial in The Hague of five Hezbollah members suspected of assassinating his father Rafik in 2005.
- United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the bomb attack, and the 15-member UN Security Councilexpressed its "unequivocal condemnation of any attempt to destabilize Lebanon through political assassinations".
- United States Secretary of State John Kerry said, "This is a terrible loss for Lebanon, the Lebanese people and for the United States."
- The British ambassador to Lebanon, Thomas Fletcher, said that Chatah "was a wise, tolerant, smart patriot" and that Lebanon should not let his killers "kill that moderation" which he represented.
- Syria’s government of President Bashar al-Assad condemned the assassination.
- "Beirut bombing death toll rises to eight". The Daily Star. 29 December 2013.
- "Lebanon: Hezbollah critic Mohamad Chatah’s murder blamed on Shia militant movement". The Independent. 27 December 2013.
- "Lebanon's Chatah -- friend of U.S., enemy of Assad, Hezbollah -- killed". CNN. 27 December 2013.
- "Mohamad Chatah, Lebanese ex-minister, killed in Beirut bombing". Associated Press. 27 December 2013.
- "Beirut blast kills Sunni ex-minister Mohamad Chatah". BBC News. 27 December 2013.
- "Beirut bomb kills Lebanese ex-minister who opposed Assad". Reuters. 27 December 2013.
- Rami G. Khouri (28 December 2013). "The meaning of the Shatah assassination". Daily Star Lebanon.
- Laleen Ahmad (27 December 2013). "Damascus denies involvement in Beirut blast". Daily Star Lebanon.
- "Teen in Beirut bombing 'selfie' dies". AFP. 29 December 2013.
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