Lebanese forensic experts and soldiers inspect the site of a car bomb that targeted Beirut's southern suburb of Haret Hreik on January 3, 2014
Lebanese forensic experts and soldiers inspect the site of a car bomb that targeted Beirut's southern suburb of Haret Hreik on January 3, 2014 © Joseph Eid - AFP/File
Lebanese forensic experts and soldiers inspect the site of a car bomb that targeted Beirut's southern suburb of Haret Hreik on January 3, 2014
AFP
Last updated: January 5, 2014

Lebanese anti-Syria figures threatened

Several prominent Lebanese politicians and media figures opposed to Syria's regime and its ally Hezbollah have been threatened, the official National News Agency reported on Sunday.

The report comes less than a fortnight after a car bombing in central Beirut killed eight people including anti-Syria former finance minister and member of the March 14 coalition Mohammad Chatah.

The NNA said Sethrida Geagea, a Christian member of parliament, March 14 member and wife of Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea, had a series of threats sent to her mobile phone.

"At 5:00 pm (1500 GMT) on January 4, Sethrida Geagea MP started receiving calls on her mobile phone from several local, international and hidden numbers," the agency said, quoting the politician's media office.

A statement said Geagea's colleagues answered the calls, and heard "personal threats against her life, insults and obscenities".

More such calls came on Sunday, the NNA said.

The threats were reported to the security forces, whom Geagea's office said should "take the necessary measures" to identify the callers.

A string of other figures have received similar threats, the statement said.

They include former interior minister Ahmad Fatfat, outspoken TV presenter Nadim Koteich and assassination attempt survivor and journalist May Chidiac.

All are seen as high-profile opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime and its powerful Lebanese ally, Hezbollah.

The Shiite movement has sent thousands of fighters into Syria to help Assad's troops in their bid to crush the revolt that erupted nearly three years ago.

Reports have also emerged that Sunni politician Khaled Daher, a fierce critic of the Damascus regime, has also received threats against his life.

Chatah's death on December 27 was the latest in a string of nine high-profile assassinations of Syria critics that began in February 2005 with former prime minister Rafiq Hariri's murder.

Syria and Hezbollah have systematically denied any links to the attacks.

The trial of Rafiq Hariri's alleged killers by the UN-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon is due to open on January 16.

Four members of Hezbollah are to be tried in absentia for the suicide bombing that killed Hariri and 22 others on the Beirut seafront in 2005.

A fifth suspect, Hassan Habib Merhi, was indicted in October.

Syria dominated Lebanon for nearly 30 years until the international outcry over Hariri's killing forced Assad's troops out.

However, Damascus still exerts influence over Lebanon through its allies.

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