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Assassination Of Gebran Tueni

A leading opponent of Syria's three-decade long occupation and continuing interference in Lebanon was killed by a car bomb in Beirut. Gibran Tueni was a member of the Lebanese parliament and publisher of An-Nahar, Beirut's leading newspaper.

Mr. Tueni had called for an international investigation of recently discovered mass graves found at a former Syrian intelligence headquarters in Lebanon. In a column he wrote four days before his assassination, Mr. Tueni charged the Syrian government of President Bashir Assad with "crimes against humanity."

In February, former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, also an opponent of Syrian influence in Lebanon, was killed in a Beirut car bombing. This year four other Lebanese journalists were killed or seriously injured in similar attacks. Many Lebanese blame Syria for these crimes. They include telecommunications minister Marwan Hamadeh, Mr. Tueni's uncle:

"There is no doubt that Bashar Assad and his band of organized criminals are behind all these, this list of crimes."

U.S. State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli says, "The fact that Syrian interference in Lebanon continues is...a statement of fact":

"Syria has a responsibility to take actions that support Lebanon's sovereignty and independence and that support a climate of peace and tolerance and political stability, and that the continued presence of their intelligence services are not conducive to that. And so that when you're...speaking in the wake of a brutal assassination of a leading Lebanese politician, journalist, [and] member of parliament, that can only happen in a climate of instability, and Syria...continues to contribute to that."

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice issued a statement saying she is "outraged by the assassination of Gebran Tueni." She says, "The forces behind this latest attack and a series of brutal crimes against Lebanese journalists and political leaders in the past months, must be held to account for their crimes. Together, we and the international community," says Secretary of State Rice, "will confront and defeat those who seek to terrorize and subjugate a proud, independent Lebanon."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.