Anti-Syrian politician killed in Lebanon

Just two days after a smashing victory of anti-Syrian opposition in Lebanon parliamentary elections a former Communist Party chief who was a harsh critic of Syrian meddling in Lebanese affairs, George Hawi, was killed Tuesday, reports AP.

A bomb exploded as Hawi drove his car.

It is the second slaying of an anti-Syrian figure this month, said the police. On the June 2 prominent anti-Syrian journalist Samir Kassir was killed inside his car in the Christian Beirut neighborhood of Ashrafieh, where he lived. The bomb set the car afire and shattered windows in nearby buildings. Kassir had emphatically blamed Syria for the assassination in February of a former prime minister, Rafik Hariri, and had called for the resignations of President Emile Lahoud and Lebanon's pro-Syrian security chiefs.

Hawi, a Christian, frequently spoke out against Syrian intelligence and interference in Lebanese affairs.

Hawi's allies blamed Lebanese and Syrian security services in the assassination. "Yes, it's the Lebanese security system - the remnants - the tutelage," Farouk Dahrouj, another former Communist Party leader, said on New TV. "Tutelage" is a reference to Syria's influence in Lebanon.

"We are stunned," Prime Minister Najib Mikati told, reports Reuters. "With every achievement by the Lebanese state, we see that there are those who want to target security and send messages of this sort."

Justice Minister Khaled Kabbani called the assassination "an attempt to hit unity and national reconciliation after the holding of free and democratic elections," say The Times.

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