Pierre Gemayel, Lebanese Parliamentarian, Assassinated
Pierre Gemayel, a third generation leader of Lebanon’s Christian minority, was assassinated this morning.
Prominent anti-Syrian Christian politician Pierre Gemayel was assassinated in a suburb of Beirut on Tuesday, his Phalange Party radio station and Lebanon’s official news agency reported. His fatal shooting will certainly heighten the political tension in Lebanon, where the leading Muslim Shiite party Hezbollah has threatened to topple the government if he does not get a bigger say in Cabinet decision making.
Witnesses said Gemayel was shot in his car in Jdeideh, a Christian neighborhood, his constituency on the northern edge of Beirut. Gemayel was rushed to a nearby hospital, according to the Lebanese Broadcasting Corp. and the Voice of Lebanon, the Phalange Party mouthpiece. The party radio later said he was dead, as did the National News Agency.
Saad Hariri, leader of the anti-Syrian parliamentary majority, broke off a televised news conference after hearing that Gemayel had been shot.
Gemayel, the minister of industry and son of former President Amin Gemayel, was a supporter of the anti-Syrian parliamentary majority, which is locked in a power struggle with pro-Syrian factions led by Hezbollah. He was named for his grandfather, who founded the Phalange Party in 1936 to exert Christian power in Lebanon. It dominated Christian politics for decades after Lebanon’s independence from France in 1943.