News / Middle East

Thousands of Lebanese Mourn Intelligence Official Killed in Blast

Lebanon's President Michel Suleiman pays his respects after placing honorary medals at the coffins of slain intelligence officer Wissam al-Hassan and his bodyguard Ahmed Sahyouni during an official ceremony to pay tribute their deaths, at the Internal Sec
Lebanon's President Michel Suleiman pays his respects after placing honorary medals at the coffins of slain intelligence officer Wissam al-Hassan and his bodyguard Ahmed Sahyouni during an official ceremony to pay tribute their deaths, at the Internal Sec
Edward Yeranian
Thousands of Lebanese gathered in Beirut's Martyrs Square for the funeral of police intelligence chief Wissam al-Hassan, killed in the explosion of a car bomb on Friday. 
 
A sea of mourners gathered in Martyrs Square outside the Mohammed al Amin mosque as Lebanon's top political and religious leaders attended prayers inside. The flag-draped coffins of Hassan and an officer who died with him lay in state as the mufti of Tripoli, Malek Sha'ar, delivered the funeral oration.
 
As the prayers ended, several religious and political figures addressed the crowd, saying that Lebanon and the opposition March 14 coalition have paid “too high a price and suffered too many martyrs” in recent years.

A Lebanese protester gestures from the top of the monument at Martyrs Square as the crowd gathered for the funeral of the country's intelligence chief Wissam al-Hassan in Beirut, Lebanon, Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012.A Lebanese protester gestures from the top of the monument at Martyrs Square as the crowd gathered for the funeral of the country's intelligence chief Wissam al-Hassan in Beirut, Lebanon, Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012.
x
A Lebanese protester gestures from the top of the monument at Martyrs Square as the crowd gathered for the funeral of the country's intelligence chief Wissam al-Hassan in Beirut, Lebanon, Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012.
A Lebanese protester gestures from the top of the monument at Martyrs Square as the crowd gathered for the funeral of the country's intelligence chief Wissam al-Hassan in Beirut, Lebanon, Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012.
The slain police intelligence official was allied with Lebanon's anti-Syrian opposition and seen as a supporter of the mainly Sunni rebels fighting to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Syria's civil war has heightened political and sectarian tensions in neighboring Lebanon.
 
Former Lebanese prime minister Fouad Siniora told the crowd at the funeral that it is time for the assassinations to stop and for the current government, which is supported by the pro-Syrian Shi'ite movement Hezbollah, to resign.
 
He said the government of Prime Minister Najib Mikati must no longer cover for the crimes that Siniora says are being committed. Sinioria added that Mikati himself bears moral responsibility for those crimes and must give way to a neutral, unity government.
 
The prime minister told a news conference Saturday that he had offered his resignation, but that President Michel Suleiman had asked him to stay on until political talks take place, to avoid a vacuum.
 
Siniora also accused Syrian Intelligence Chief Ali Mamlouk and pro-Syrian Lebanese politician Michel Samaha of being behind Wissam al Hassan's assassination. Samaha was arrested last month after being taped discussing a plot to blow-up politicians who oppose Syria.
 
Several blocks away, a crowd of young men threw stones and waved metal bars at a barbed wire barrier protecting the prime minister's offices. Security forces guarding the old Ottoman structure fired tear gas to keep the angry protesters from storming the barriers.
 
Earlier, a police band played funeral dirges as President Suleiman awarded the slain police inspector Lebanon's highest honor, promoting him posthumously to the rank of general. Suleiman told the crowd that Hassan's killing must not go unpunished:
 
He urged Lebanon's political leaders not to cover for the crimes that are being committed, saying that the people want the courts and the police to find and prosecute the criminals. 
 
Christian political leader Michel Aoun, who is part of the outgoing pro-Syrian government, called Wissam al-Hassan a martyr but insisted that some political leaders are “trying to use his death for political purposes.”

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid