Pierre Gemayel, Lebanon's Industry Minister, was shot and killed in his car in Jdeideh, the neighborhood in northern Beirut he represented in the Lebanese parliament. He was a supporter of Lebanese prime minister Fouad Siniora.
Earlier this month, six pro-Syrian cabinet members resigned from the cabinet. The terrorist group Hezbollah is calling for an end to Mr. Siniora's government.
Mr. Gemayel, a member of the Phalange, a Maronite Christian party, was a longtime opponent of Syrian intervention in Lebanese affairs. His father, former Lebanese president Amin Gemayel said of his son's death, "We do not want revenge. We want the Lebanese cause to be victorious."
Deputy U.S. State Department spokesman Tom Casey says the U.S. views the assassination of Mr. Gemayel as an act of terrorism and attempted intimidation in Lebanon:
"There hasn't been an investigation into who is responsible for this incident and I don't think it would be appropriate for me to do that for people. But in light of the history that we've seen in Lebanon with other acts of political violence, it is certainly clear to us and clear to everyone else that this just wasn't any random criminal act."
Pierre Gemayel was the latest anti-Syrian politician to be murdered in Lebanon. Rafik Hariri, a former Lebanese prime minister, was killed in a February 2005 car bombing. Gibran Tueni, a politician and newspaper editor, was killed in a similar manner in December 2005. A United Nations inquiry has implicated Syrian officials in Mr. Hariri's murder.
State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey calls these crimes "a disturbing pattern":
"Clearly, there are those who have spoken out for independence, who have spoken out in favor of a Lebanon free from outside interference from Syria, and anyone else, who appear to be those who are intimidated and attacked over time."
President George W. Bush says the U.S. "support[s] the Siniora government and its democracy and we support the Lebanese people's desire to live in peace. He says the U.S. supports "their efforts to defend their democracy against attempts by Syria, Iran and allies to foment instability and violence in that important country."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.