BEIRUT,(Reuters) – Lebanese security forces raided the offices of a mobile phone operator in Beirut on Tuesday in connection with a U.N. probe into the killing of Lebanese former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, security sources said.
The forces were accompanying investigators who copied data from the telephone records of MTC Touch and questioned three of its employees, the sources said on customary condition of anonymity. They did not elaborate.
Reuters pictures showed Lebanese security forces taking several people away from the building in a security bus. It was not immediately clear why they were taken away.
United Nations investigators were not involved in the raid but Detlev Mehlis, who is leading the international probe, was informed about the move and believed it would benefit his inquiries, a U.N. official in Beirut said.
MTC Touch, a network run by Kuwait-based Mobile Telecommunications Co, was not immediately available for comment. Lebanon”s Telecommunications Ministry declined to comment.
Lebanon arrested four men earlier this month and charged them with concealing information and forgery for selling phone chips believed to have been used the day of Hariri”s February killing, which plunged the country into its worst crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war.
Judicial sources have declined to give details of the men”s role in the assassination, which many in Lebanon blame on Syria.
Damascus has denied any involvement but three Lebanese former security chiefs and the current head of Lebanon”s Republican Guard, all allies of Syria, have been charged with murder in connection with Hariri”s assassination.
The U.N. team, headed by veteran prosecutor Detlev Mehlis, last week listened to Syrian witnesses as part of the probe.
A series of assassainations and bombings have rocked Lebanon since Hariri”s death, fuelling fears the country was sliding into chaos as the United Nations nears the conclusion of a probe it is expected to report on next month.