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Lebanon: Iranian Traces In Attempted Assassination Of Christian Leader

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Citing sources close to the investigation into Wednesday’s attempted assassination of Samir Geagea, Lebanon’s an-Nahar newspaper said that the shooting was carried out by snipers. They targeted the head of the Lebanese Forces (LF) some 1.5 km from the LF’s HQ in Meerab. The newspaper also reported that the initial probe indicated that the weapon used by the snipers is “very sophisticated” and “virtually unavailable in Lebanon”. It concluded attackers used the “Steyr HS.50, with the 12.7mm caliber”, a sniper rifle manufactured in Austria.

Vienna was criticized in 2006 by London and Washington for having sold over 800 of these rifles to Tehran, according to The Telegraph . The British newspaper said that U.S. forces had found 100 of these Austrian assault rifles in a weapons cache belonging to Iraqi insurgents in Baghdad. These weapons were part of the cargo sent by Austria to Iran, reported the newspaper, quoting U.S. security sources.

On his part, the Lebanese Minister of Interior said Marwan Charbel said Thursday the attempted assassination of Geagea, was “serious”. The minister said it was only “miracle” that Mr. Geagea has escaped the worst.

Speaking on LBC television channel, Charbel said that the political situation in Lebanon was unstable, hence the need to resolve internal “political” conflicts. “The solution lies not in the assassination attempts,” he stressed, warning against internal conflict and a return to civil war.

Calling on the Lebanese to “learn” from the attempted assassination of Geagea, the politician stressed the need to resort to dialogue.

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