Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Pierre Gemayel's assasinationWritten by Daily Star Online edition staff
Prominent Christian politician Pierre Gemayel was assassinated in a suburb of Beirut on Tuesday his death will heighten the political tension in Lebanon, where Hezbollah has threatened to topple the government if it does not get a bigger say in Cabinet decision making.
Witnesses said Gemayel was shot in his car in Jdeideh. The witnesses said a car rammed Gemayel's car from behind and then an assassin stepped out and shot him at point blank range.
Gemayel was rushed to a nearby hospital seriously wounded he was later confirmed as dead.
Gemayel, the minister of industry and son of former President Amin Gemayel, was a member of the Kataeb party and supporter of parliamentary majority, which is locked in a power struggle with different parties led by Hezbollah.
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.
Saad Hariri, leader of the anti-Syrian parliamentary majority, broke off a televised news conference after hearing that Gemayel had been shot. In an interview with CNN later, Hariri hailed Gemayel as "a friend, a brother to all of us" and appeared to break down after saying: "we will bring justice to all those who killed him."
Gemayel was first elected to parliament in 2005 and was believed to be the youngest legislator in the legislature, where anti-Syrian groups dominate.
He came from a prominent family of politicians. His father, Amin, served as president between 1982 and 1988 and his grandfather, the late Pierre Gemayel, led the right-wing Christian Kataeb Party that fielded the largest Christian militia during the 1975-90 civil war between Christians and Muslims.