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Published:June 14th, 2006 14:41 EST

United Nations-Backed Investigation Into The Assassination Of Former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri

By SOP newswire

The head of the United Nations-backed investigation commission today <"">reported “considerable progress” in the probe into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, including critical forensics advances, but stressed the need for a more intensive effort to make headway in the cases of 14 other possibly-related attacks.

“At present, the fundamental building blocks for the investigation into the crime, in particular concerning the explosion, the container/carrier and the means of delivery, are largely understood and provide the basis for investigative progress with regard to those who perpetrated the crime,” according to the report presented to the Security Council by Serge Brammertz, the head of the International Independent Investigation Commission (IIIC) 14 February 2005 killing of the ex-premier and 22 others.

In the months ahead, the Commission will focus on identifying the perpetrators of the crime, Mr. Brammertz told the Council. The report points out that DNA analysis of human remains recovered from the scene provides no evidence that Ahmed Abu Adass, who claimed responsibility for detonating the bomb in a video sent to news outlets after the attack, had in fact done so.

Of the human remains recovered, some 27 fragments indicate that it was likely that one person did in fact “initiate” an Improvised Explosive Device (IED), which was probably placed in a Mitsubishi truck that exploded as Mr. Hariri’s convoy drove by.

The IED contained at least 1,200 kilograms of TNT equivalent explosive, the report says, big enough to make sure it accomplished task. “The large amount of explosives used elevated the attack to an almost ‘guaranteed’ level,” Mr. Brammertz said.

In regard to cooperation by Syria in the probe, the report presented today said that the level of assistance provided by its officials during the reporting period has “generally been satisfactory,” while “interaction with Lebanese authorities continues to be “excellent.”

The Commission’s report also describes progress in investigating 14 other bombings that occurred in <"">Lebanon since 1 October 2004, on which the IIIC has been assisting Lebanese authorities under its expanded mandate.

“Patterns emerging among the six targeted attacks and eight bombs in public locations have not yet been confirmed by evidence, the report says, but in light of potential linkages between the Hariri investigation and the 14 other cases, the Commission is calling for a much more concerted and robust effort to move the cases forward.”

For that reason, and to complete its work on the Hariri investigation, the Commission is supporting the Government of Lebanon’s request for a one year extension of its mandate as well as urging increased support from UN Member States and international organizations.

UNIIIC was established by the Security Council in April 2005 after an earlier UN mission found Lebanon's own investigation seriously flawed and Syria primarily responsible for the political tension preceding Mr. Hariri's murder.

Source: UN