Syria claims its interior minister committed suicide

Syria's interior minister, who ran Lebanon as security chief until 2003, died Wednesday, and Syria's official news agency said he had committed suicide. His death was reported days before the expected release of a U.N. report into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

"Interior Minister Brig. Gen. Ghazi Kenaan committed suicide in his office before noon," the Syrian Arab News Agency reported. "Authorities are carrying out the necessary investigation into the incident."

The news agency did not mention the U.N. investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, which is due to issue its report by Oct. 25, according to the AP.

Hours before he died, Kenaan contacted a Lebanese radio station and gave it a statement, concluding with the words: "I believe this is the last statement that I could make." He asked the interviewer to pass his comments to other broadcast media.

Kenaan was intelligence chief in Lebanon from the 1980s until 2003, presiding over Syria's control of its western neighbor. He reportedly was questioned by the U.N. team investigating Hariri's murder.


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