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Lebanese Official Confident Hariri Case Solvable

Lebanon's justice minister says he is confident a United Nations tribunal will determine who killed former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Ibrahim Najjar also said Thursday that Lebanon will fully cooperate with the special court as it formally begins work at the Hague, in the Netherlands, on March 1.

Former Prime Minister Hariri and 22 other people were killed in a massive truck bombing in Beirut on February 14, 2005.

Many Lebanese blame Syria for the attack.  Syria has denied responsibility.  But pressure from Lebanon and the United Nations led Syria to pull its 14,000 troops out of Lebanon less than three months after the assassination.  

On Wednesday, A Lebanese judge ordered the release on bail of three suspects held in connection with the assassination. The judge did not give any reasons for releasing the three civilians.

Four other suspects - all pro-Syrian Lebanese generals - will remain jailed.

Because they will stay in custody, the generals are the only suspects who will be transferred to The Hague.  The three suspects on bail could still be called to face charges before the tribunal.

Prosecutors have 60 days from March first to request suspects and evidence be sent to the United Nations special tribunal.  

U.N. officials say they expect the tribunal to complete its work in three to five years.

European Union policy chief Javier Solana said Wednesday that Syria has pledged to cooperate with the tribunal.

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

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