Lebanese PM asks UN to extend Hariri probe

Prime Minister Fuad Saniora told UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Saturday that his government wanted a six-month extension of the United Nations probe into the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The state-run National News Agency said Saniora telephoned Annan to ask for the continuation past the Dec. 15, when the investigation mandate expires. Hariri was killed in a truck bombing in Beirut on Feb. 14, which also killed 20 others. The UN commission has implicated Lebanese and Syrian officials in the killing, and chief investigator Detlev Mehlis has accused Syria of obstructing his work. Syria controlled Lebanon at the time of Hariri's assassination, but denies it was involved. It is not clear how the UN Security Council would respond to the request, but Ibrahim Gambiri, the UN undersecretary-general for political affairs, has said the probe needs to continue because some witnesses have not been interviewed, there are new people to question and some physical evidence hasn't been analyzed.