Police arrest cell-phone traders for concealing important information

Police have arrested four mobile-phone dealers on charges of withholding information dealing with the inquiry into Rafik Hariri's assassination.

Lebanese investigating magistrate Elias Eid has accused the four traders of forgery and withholding information that could have helped the investigation into the former prime minister's death, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The arrests had been requested by the chief U.N. investigator into the Hariri killing, Detlev Mehlis. French and German experts assisting the U.N. investigation have studied thousands of calls made before and after the Feb. 14 assassination, when a massive truck bomb killed Hariri and 20 other people as his motorcade was passing through central Beirut.

The phone dealers _ Majed al-Akhras, Mustafa Misto, Ayman Tarabay, and Raed Fakhereddine _ were among 10 detained for questioning early this week, the officials said. The four were formally arrested on charges on Wednesday and the remainder were released on bond.

The arrests mean that Lebanon has eight people in custody on charges related to Hariri's murder. Last month it detained four pro-Syrian generals, three of whom ran Lebanon's security services at the time Hariri was killed. The fourth is still commander of the presidential guards.

The generals have been accused of complicity in the assassination.

On Thursday, the Mehlis commission questioned Syrian officials at a resort in western Syria for a third straight day, the AP reports.

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