Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has received a letter from the Lebanese Government requesting help in the investigation of yesterday’s bombing in eastern Beirut that killed a senior member of the country’s armed forces and at least one of his bodyguards.
Mr. Ban has transmitted the letter from Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, in which he seeks “technical assistance,” on to the Security Council, UN spokesperson Marie Okabe told reporters today.
The International Independent Investigation Commission (IIIC), which was set up by the Council, is already probing the February 2005 assassination of the former prime minister Rafiq Hariri, who was killed along with 22 others following a massive car bombing in downtown Beirut. It is also examining 18 other recent murders or attempted murders of politicians or other prominent figures in Lebanon.
Media reports say General Francois el-Hajj and his bodyguard died after the car in which they were travelling was destroyed when a bomb detonated in the eastern suburbs of Beirut yesterday morning.
The blast was immediately condemned by Mr. Ban and the Security Council in separate statements. The Council’s presidential statement was adopted after the 15-member body heard a briefing from Geir Pedersen, the Secretary-General’s Special Coordinator for Lebanon, and Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Edmond Mulet about the latest developments in the Middle Eastern country.