Prime Minister Hassan Diab on Thursday described the 2005 assassination of ex-PM Rafik Hariri as a “crime against Lebanon’s future.”
“The 15th anniversary of the martyrdom of ex-PM Rafik Hariri and his companions comes this year as Lebanon passes through a sensitive period and faces dangerous financial, economic and social challenges,” Diab said in a statement marking the occasion.
“The martyr premier launched the reconstruction of Lebanon after the war and removed its scars and today we miss his strong presence at the Arab and international arenas as to rescuing Lebanon from the dire and accumulating financial crisis,” Diab added.
“The assassination of the martyr premier represented an assassination of the dreams of the Lebanese and a major crime against the future of Lebanon, which the martyr premier wanted to be a beacon for the region and the world,” the premier went on to say.
A massive suicide bomb tore through Hariri’s armored convoy on the Beirut seafront on February 14, 2005, killing him and 22 other people.
The U.N.-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon has tried four Hizbullah operatives in absentia over the crime and the verdicts are expected to be issued later this year.
Hizbullah has denied involvement in the case, describing the tribunal as a U.S.-Israeli scheme and vowing that the accused will never be found.