Haig/Beirut: The international court has held Hezbollah guilty of assassinating former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri in a suicide attack. The verdict of the international court, delivered after 15 years, was welcomed by Hariri’s son and former Prime Minister Saad Hariri. Whereas, Israel and Saudi Arabia have appealed to the international community to take harsh action against Hezbollah, who is responsible for creating instability in Lebanon with the assassination of Hariri. But concerns are being expressed that the tension could rise in Lebanon in view of this delayed decision.
Sixteen years ago, the then Lebanese Prime Minister, Rafiq Hariri, had planned a major campaign against the Assad government in Syria in retaliation of the intrusion into Lebanese territory by the Syrian military. The campaign was receiving overwhelming support from the people of Lebanon. In this scenario, there was a suicide attack on the motorcade of Prime Minister Hariri. Twenty-one people, including Prime Minister Hariri, were killed in the suicide attack. Two years later, in 2007, the international court, affiliated to the United Nations, initiated hearing of the case through Special Tribunal for Lebanon. It was accused that the Iran-supported terrorist organisation Hezbollah was responsible for the attack. Four Hezbollah terrorists were charge-sheeted in the case and arrested.
After a long wait of 15 years, the international court gave its verdict in the case. Hezbollah terrorist Saleem Ayyash was held guilty, saying that he was the mastermind of the Hariri assassination. Ayyash was linked to Hezbollah, and the international court noted that Syria and Hezbollah were the direct beneficiaries of the Hariri assassination. Whereas, three other Hezbollah terrorists were acquitted due to lack of substantial evidence. Hariri’s son and former Lebanese Prime Minister, Saad Hariri, has welcomed this verdict by the international court and has once again accused that it was Hezbollah who was responsible for his father’s death.
Israel and Saudi have launched an attack on Hezbollah following the verdict. Israeli foreign ministry accused that Hezbollah darkened the future of the Lebanese people by assassinating Prime Minister Hariri for the benefit of foreign agents. Israel warned that the activities of Hezbollah pose a threat to the Lebanese people and also to the security of the region. At the same time, Israeli foreign ministry demanded that the international community should take action against Hezbollah for freedom of the Lebanese people. Whereas, Saudi too has appealed that if the region and the world are to be secured, the international community should hand out harsh punishment to this organisation.
Meanwhile, Hezbollah is an Iran-affiliated organisation and has active terrorist networks in Syria and Iraq, along with Lebanon. At the same time, it is claimed that the terrorist organisation has its networks in the European countries like United Kingdom, France and Germany too. It is also being accused that Hezbollah was responsible for the dreadful blast in the Beirut port at the beginning of this month. Therefore, the anti-Hezbollah sentiment is already high in Lebanon. A possibility of the situation festering, following the Hariri verdict, is being predicted. Against this background, the security has been beefed up in Lebanon, and the military has been allotted additional powers.