Lebanese Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel has been killed after his convoy came under fire in the capital Beirut. The anti-Syrian politician died shortly after the attack by unidentified gunmen. It is feared the assassination will lead to increased tension between Lebanon's anti-Syrian government and pro-Syrian opposition. Parallels are being drawn between this latest political murder and the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik al-Hariri in February last year.
The attack has been fiercely condemned both in Lebanon and abroad, with the United States saying it was meant to intimidate the anti-Syrian government. The European Union and Russia have also roundly denounced the assassination without speculating as to who may have been behind it. Lebanese Prime Minister Foead Siniora called on the country's sharply divided population to remain calm.
This is nothing new:
On February 14, 2005, Lebanon was shaken by the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in a car bomb explosion.
On June 2, 2005, the journalist and historian Samir Kassir, a founding member of the Democratic Left Movement was assassinated by a car bomb.
Less than one month later, on June 21, 2005, George Hawi, the former Secretary General of the Lebanese Communist Party was also assassinated by a car bomb in Beirut.
On September 25, 2005, there was a failed assassination attempt on a Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation news anchor, in which May Chidiac lost her left leg below the knee and received severe injuries to her left arm, later resulting in the amputation of her left hand. Since then, May Chidiac won the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize 2006.
Editor-in-chief and CEO of the An-Nahar newspaper, journalist Gebran Tueni, was assassinated by a car bomb in the suburbs of Beirut on December 12, 2005.
Another Middle Eastern nightmare.