Lebanon's Saad Hariri arrives for trial of Hezbollah agents accused of killing father

Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri arrived in the Netherlands on Monday. (Reuters)
Updated 10 September 2018
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Lebanon's Saad Hariri arrives for trial of Hezbollah agents accused of killing father

  • The long-running trial at a UN-backed court in the Netherlands resumes on Tuesday
  • Rafik Hariri, Lebanon's former prime minister, was killed by a huge bomb in Beirut in 2005.

THE HAGUE:  Saad Hariri, Lebanon's premier-designate, arrived in the Netherlands on Monday to attend the final stage of the trial of four Hezbollah agents accused of killing his father.

The long-running trial at a UN-backed court of the men accused of assassinating Rafik Hariri, himself a former prime minister, will resume on Tuesday.

Prosecutors and defense lawyers will make their final statements but the defendants will be absent.

The extraordinary trial seeks to bring to justice those behind the huge bomb in Beirut that killed Hariri in 2005.

Hezbollah has refused to turn over the four indicted men – Salim Ayyash, Hussein Oneissi, Assad Sabra and Hassan Habib Merhi – for the trial which began in January 2014.

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon said that two weeks of closing arguments will start with the prosecution on Tuesday presenting “a summary of the case they presented in court since 2014.”

Legal representatives for the victims of the attack, which killed 21 people besides billionaire Hariri and injured 226, will follow suit, followed by the defense, AFP reported.

A verdict is not expected until next year.

 

The assassination of Hariri, who was Lebanon’s Sunni prime minister until his resignation in October 2004, was a pivotal moment in the country’s history.

Fingers pointed at Syria after the bomb detonated next to Hariri’s armored convoy on the Beirut seafront.

The bombing triggered a wave of mass demonstrations that ended with the the departure of Syrian forces from Lebanon after a 30-year presence, after which Hariri’s son Saad became premier.

When the tribunal eventually handed down indictments it targeted four members of Hezbollah.

Saad Hariri is about to start his third term in office. Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star said Hariri had arrived in the Netherlands on Monday.

Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Hezbollah has repeatedly dismissed the tribunal as a US-Israeli plot.


Iraqi forces launch anti-Daesh operation north of Baghdad

Updated 20 July 2019
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Iraqi forces launch anti-Daesh operation north of Baghdad

  • The mainly Shiite PMF have been an effective force against Daesh
  • This is the second phase of the operation dubbed “Will to Victory”

BAGHDAD: Iraq’s military said Saturday its troops in partnership with security agencies and paramilitary forces launched the second phase of an operation aimed at clearing remnants of the Daesh group from north of Baghdad and surrounding areas.
This is the second phase of the operation dubbed “Will to Victory,” which started two weeks earlier and targeted the area along the border with Syria. The military said the new target area is north of Baghdad and in the Diyala, Salahuddin and Anbar provinces.
Although Iraq declared victory against Daesh in July 2017, the extremists have turned into an insurgency and continue to carry out deadly attacks in the country.
The military said Iraqi troops, Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces, the federal police and others are taking part in the operation supported by the Iraqis and the U.S-led international coalition.
On Saturday, Iraq’s Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi visited the operation room alongside the deputy head of the PMF, Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis.
Earlier this month, the Iraqi government moved to place the Iranian-backed militias under the command of the armed forces. The move was believed to be an attempt to curb the powerful militias, particularly amid rising tension between Iran and the US, the power brokers in Iraq.
The mainly Shiite PMF have been an effective force against Daesh and are a significant political force, with government ministers and 48 seats in the 329-member parliament.