Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Omar (centre), son of former Lebanese minister Mohammed Chatah, carries his father's coffin along with relatives during his mass funeral at Al Amin mosque in Martyrs' Square, downtown Beirut. Hasan Shaaban / Reuters
Omar (centre), son of former Lebanese minister Mohammed Chatah, carries his father's coffin along with relatives during his mass funeral at Al Amin mosque in Martyrs' Square, downtown Beirut. Hasan Shaaban / Reuters

Lebanon mourns ex-minister killed in bombing

Mourners in Beirut bury Mohammed Chatah, a prominent critic of the Syrian regime who was killed in Friday’s car bombing.

BEIRUT // Mourners in Lebanon’s capital on Sunday buried Mohammad Chatah, a prominent critic of the Syrian regime who was killed last week in a car bombing.

Angry citizens chanted against the powerful Lebanese Shiite Hizbollah movement, an ally of the Syrian regime, which has been accused of killing Chatah and other critics in recent years.

Chatah, 62, a Sunni Muslim former finance minister and close aide to former prime minister Saad Hariri, was killed on Friday along with six other people in a blast in the heart of Beirut.

The bombing raised fears about the fragile situation in Lebanon, which has seen the war in neighbouring Syria regularly spill over.

Heavy security was in place as the bodies of Chatah and his bodyguard Tarek Badr were transported from western Beirut to a mosque downtown for prayers and burial.

Chatah was buried at the mausoleum of Hariri’s father Rafiq, who was also killed in a huge suicide bombing on the Beirut seafront on February 14, 2005, that supporters blame on Syria and Hizbollah.

Chatah was seen as an influential figure in the March 14 coalition, which is opposed to the Syrian regime and Hizbollah, and many of its supporters said there was no doubt who had killed him.

“Syria and its allies in Lebanon, particularly Hizbollah, are the ones who assassinated Chatah, they don’t want this country to be peaceful,” said Youssef Sati, 40-year-old teacher.

Former prime minister Fuad Siniora, addressing mourners at the funeral, also criticised Hizbollah indirectly over the issue of its large arsenal, which remains beyond the control of the state.

“We have decided to liberate the country of the occupation of illegitimate weapons to preserve its independence, its sovereignty and its civil peace,” said Mr Siniora, a March 14 member.

“We call for liberty and justice, we will not surrender, we will not back down, we will not be afraid,” he said, as mourners chanted “Hizbollah is the enemy of God”.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack that killed Chatah, though March 14 has implied Damascus and Hizbollah were behind it without naming them.

Chatah’s death comes as the war in Syria exacerbates tensions in ever-fragile Lebanon.

Hizbollah has dispatched fighters to help the Syrian regime battle opposition forces, while many Lebanese Sunnis support the Sunni-dominated Syrian uprising.

In recent months, bomb attacks have targeted Hizbollah’s stronghold in southern Beirut, as well as the Sunni town of Tripoli in northern Lebanon, killing dozens of people.

* Agence France-Presse

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greets supporters after his arrival in Zahedan, the regional capital of Sistan and Baluchestan province on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. During Mr Rouhani's two-day visit, he will tour several other cities and hold meetings with local scholars and entrepreneurs. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

On the road with Hassan Rouhani

Iran's president is touring some of Iran's most underdeveloped provinces. Foreign correspondent Yeganeh Salehi is traveling with him.

 The Doha-based Youssef Al Qaradawi speaks to the crowd as he leads Friday prayers in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt in February, 2011. The outspoken pro-Muslim Brotherhood imam has been critical of the UAE’s policies toward Islamist groups, adding to friction between Qatar and other GCC states. Khalil Hamra / AP Photo

Brotherhood imam skips Doha sermon, but more needed for GCC to reconcile

That Youssef Al Qaradawi did not speak raises hopes that the spat involving Qatar and the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain might be slowly moving towards a resolution.

 Twitter photo of  Abdel Fattah El Sisi on the campaign trail on March 30. Photo courtesy-Twitter/@SisiCampaign

El Sisi rides a bicycle, kicks off social media storm

The photos and video created a huge buzz across social media networks, possibly a marker of a new era for Egypt.

 An Afghan election commission worker carries a ballot box at a vote counting centre in Jalalabad on April 6. A roadside bomb hit a truck carrying full ballot boxes in northern Afghanistan, killing three people a day after the country voted for a successor to President Hamid Karzai. Eight boxes of votes were destroyed in the blast, which came as the three leading candidates voiced concerns about possible fraud. Noorullah Shirzada / AFP Photo

Two pressing questions for Afghanistan’s future president

Once in office, the next Afghan president must move fast to address important questions that will decide the immediate future of the country.

 Friday is UN Mine Awareness Day and Omer Hassan, who does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan, is doing all he can to teach people about the dangers posed by landmines. Louise Redvers for The National

A landmine nearly ended Omer’s life but he now works to end the threat of mines in Iraq

Omer Hassan does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan and only has to show people his mangled leg to underscore the danger of mines. With the world marking UN Mine Awareness Day on Friday, his work is as important as ever as Iraq is one of the most mine-affected countries in the world.

 Supporters of Turkey's ruling AKP cheer as they follow the election's results in front of the party's headquarters in Ankara on March 30. Adem Altan/ AFP Photo

Erdogan critic fears retaliation if he returns to Turkey

Emre Uslu is a staunch critic of Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Now, with a mass crackdown on opposition expected, he is unsure when he can return home.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National