BEIRUT, (Reuters) – Lebanese investigators have concluded that al Qaeda-inspired militants killed a Christian Lebanese minister late last year, a Lebanese newspaper reported on Saturday.
An-Nahar daily said results of the investigation into the Nov. 21 assassination of Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel would be made public soon and would show proof against Fatah al-Islam militants.
It gave little other details and there was no comment on the report from the authorities or the group.
Gemayel was gunned down while driving in a Christian suburb of Beirut. The country’s ruling coalition, to whom Gemayel’s Phalange Party belongs, accused Damascus of his killing. Syria denied any links.
Lebanon has been hit by a wave of assassinations and bombings since late 2004. A U.N. investigation team, set up after the 2005 killing of ex-premier Rafik al-Hariri, is looking into the attacks. The U.N. Security Council set up last month a special court to try any indicted suspects.
Lebanese troops are battling Fatah al-Islam militants at a refugee camp in north Lebanon since May 20. More than 200 people have been killed in the fighting at Nahr al-Bared.
Lebanese investigators found a car suspected of being used in Gemayel’s murder last month during a crackdown against militants across the north, security sources have said.
The authorities had blamed Fatah al-Islam for a twin bus bombings in a Christian area near Beirut on February 13, killing three civilians. The group has denied any links.
The anti-Syrian government says the group is nothing more than a tool of Syrian intelligence. Damascus and Fatah al-Islam denies this. The group says it agrees with the ideology of al Qaeda, though it has no organisational ties to it.
Some of its members — mainly Lebanese, Palestinians, Syrians and Saudis — have fought in Iraq.