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Lebanon Braces For Gemayel Funeral


Lebanon is bracing for a massive turnout for the funeral of assassinated anti-Syrian politician Pierre Gemayel.

Thousands of troops are in the streets of Beirut and suburban Christian neighborhoods ahead of Thursday's service in central Beirut.

Gamayel was shot and killed in his car Tuesday near Beirut. His allies blamed the attack on Syria, which has denied any involvement.

Anti-Syrian politicians are urging a large turnout Thursday, like the 2005 mass protests that followed the assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri.

Meanwhile, the U.N. Security Council has approved a request from Lebanon for help in investigating Gemayel's killing. The same U.N. investigating team has implicated Syrian officials in the Hariri killing.

Gemayel is the latest anti-Syrian politician to die by violence in Lebanon in the past two years, but Syria has denied it had any role in those attacks. The U.N. Security Council has approved plans for a special international tribunal to try suspects in the killing of Mr. Hariri in 2005.

On Wednesday, President Bush pledged U.S. support for Lebanon against what U.S. officials are calling encroachments by Iran and Syria.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters

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