BEIRUT, (AFP) – Hezbollah on Friday said it would hand over data allegedly implicating Israel in the murder of ex-premier Rafiq Hariri to Lebanese authorities, following a request by a UN court probing the killing.
“What Lebanon’s jurisdiction asks for we will provide, and what they do with that is their responsibility,” said Mohammed Fneish, a minister representing the Shiite militant group in Lebanon’s unity government.
“Our position has not changed, however. Our evidence is in the hands of the Lebanese government… but that does not alter our view of the tribunal, which is that it has no credibility,” Fneish told AFP.
He was referring to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), a UN-backed investigation into the Hariri murder which Hezbollah has dismissed as an “Israeli project.”
Tribunal prosecutor Daniel Bellemare’s office on Wednesday called on the Lebanese authorities to submit all material related to the murder in the possession of Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, who claims his arch-foe Israel was behind the February 14, 2005 bombing that killed Hariri and 22 others.
Lebanese prosecutor general Said Mirza on Friday informed Hezbollah official Wafiq Safa of the STL’s request, a judicial source told AFP.
The STL statement came days after Nasrallah produced several undated clips of aerial views of several areas in Lebanon which he said were intercepted from unmanned Israeli MK surveillance drones.
The clips included footage of the site of the Hariri assassination in mainly Sunni west Beirut shot several years before the murder.
Syrian- and Iranian-backed Hezbollah is facing increasing pressure amid reports that the STL is set to accuse several of its members.
Nasrallah, who has repeatedly attacked the tribunal’s credibility, had already said he would cooperate with the government and present the cabinet, which includes two Hezbollah ministers, with his findings.
But he has not specified what measures Hezbollah would take should the STL implicate the party.
The Hariri assassination triggered an international outcry and led to the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon in April 2005 after a deployment of almost three decades.
The murder has been widely blamed on Syria, but Damascus has consistently denied involvement.