Accessibility links

Lebanese Army Investigates Slaying of Top General

The Lebanese army has launched an investigation into the assassination of a senior army officer killed in a car bombing on the outskirts of Beirut Wednesday.

Brigadier General Francois al-Hajj and his driver were killed shortly after leaving his home on way to the military headquarters. The initial investigation indicates that a car packed with explosives and parked by the roadside was detonated by remote control.

There has been no claim of responsibility for the attack in the Christian town of Baabda.

Lebanese newspapers say authorities are looking into possible link to Islamist militants.

General Hajj played a key role in the army offensive against al-Qaida-inspired militants at a Palestinian refugee camp, Nahr al-Bared, earlier this year.

He was considered a top candidate to become the next head of Lebanon's army.

The attack follows the assassination of eight prominent anti-Syrian figures in Lebanon over the last two years. Syria has denied involvement in any of the attacks.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem denounced the assassination of General Hajj, saying it threatens Lebanon's stability.

The U.N. Security Council has condemned the killing of the Lebanese army officer and urged Lebanon to go forward with its planned - and much delayed - presidential elections, despite the violence.

The current head of the army, General Michel Suleiman, is poised to be elected Lebanon's president.

However, a parliamentary vote to elect a new president has been postponed eight times as rival political leaders remain divided on several issues, including how to amend the constitution to enable the army chief to take the office of president.

Parliament speaker Nabih Berri has set December 17 as the new date for the vote.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.