Court issues Hariri killing warrants

The long-awaited move was hailed as a “historic moment” by Hariri’s son, opposition leader Saad al-Hariri, who urged the government of Najib Mikati to cooperate with the court.

Prosecutor Saeed Mirza did not disclose the contents of the indictments, but they are expected to accuse four Hezbollah members of involvement in the Feb 14, 2005, bombing in Beirut which killed Rafik al-Hariri and 22 others.

Hezbollah, both a political movement and guerrilla army, which with its political allies forms a majority in Mikati’s new government, denies any role in Hariri’s killing and has called the court a tool of Israel and the United States.

It has vowed not to hand over any of its members and wants Lebanon to end cooperation with the tribunal, withdraw Lebanese judges.

The group shares the Shi’ite Islamist ideology of the Iranian state. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards set it up in 1982 to fight Israeli forces that had invaded Lebanon. A carefully-worded policy statement by Mikati’s cabinet said only that it “stressed the (importance of) truth in the crime against Rafik al-Hariri”.

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