Lebanon mourns Gemayel

Lebanon has begun three days of official mourning following the assassination Pierre Gemayel, the industry minister.

Lebanon mourns Gemayel
The killing turned Lebanon's independence day celebrations into a sombre occasion and all festivities, including a military parade, were cancelled.
Shops closed in Gemayel's home town of Bifkaya as his coffin, draped in the white-and-green flag of the Phalange party, was driven through the town ahead of Thursday's planned funeral.
Gemayel, a member of a prominent Lebanese Christian family, was shot dead in a Beirut suburb on Tuesday.
His body was driven from a hospital near Beirut to Bekfaya, northeast of the capital, where hundreds of sympathisers walked behind the coffin, waving Phalange party flags.
As the procession made its way to Gemayel's family home, women on balconies threw rice at the coffin.
Fadi Jalakh, a mourner, said: "Those who killed him don't want the Lebanese to unite. Anything after this is going to make things worse."
There was a heavy police and army presence in Bekfaya and in Christian neighbourhoods of Beirut.
Increased tensions
The Druze leader, Walid Jumblatt, blamed Syria for Gemayel's assassination and said he expected more killings aimed at undermining parliament's ruling majority.
"It seems the Syrian regime will continue with the assassinations. I expect more assassinations but no matter what they do, we are here and we will be victorious," he said.
Osama Safa, a Lebanese political analyst, told Al Jazeera that sectarian tensions were at their "highest peaks for some time."
A civil war, Safa said, "was no longer out of the question."
UN tribunal
On Tuesday, the UN Security Council approved plans for a special international court to try suspects in Hariri's murder.
Gemayel, 34, was among cabinet members who voted last week to tentatively approve UN plans submitted to the prime pinister, Fouad Siniora's, government.
The killing has heightened tensions between the anti-Syrian government and the pro-Damascus opposition led by Hezbollah, the powerful Shia Muslim group.
Hezbollah and its allies have threatened to take to the streets to topple Siniora's government, saying it has lost its legitimacy since Shia Muslims were no longer represented.
A political source close to the group said Tuesday's murder would force it to revise its plans and delay the protests.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16