UN identifies suspects in Hariri assassination

The UN inquiry into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri has now identified suspects and witnesses and found possible links to 14 other murders or attempted murders in Lebanon in the last two years, the chief investigator said. Belgian prosecutor Serge Brammertz said his investigation has reached "a critical stage." Investigators are looking at numerous motives including assassination by an extremist group because of Hariri's links to other states in the region and in the West, before his possible success in May 2005 elections, because of his likely expose of a bank fraud, and that the killers used "obvious motives" as "a convenient cover" to cast suspicion on others. In Lebanon, US-backed Prime Minister Fuad Saniora's Cabinet confirmed its approval Tuesday of a UN plan for a tribunal to try suspects in Hariri's assassination and sent it to Parliament for final approval. But Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri is expected to resist calling a session because he has sided with pro-Syrian government critics who call the Cabinet's action illegitimate because Shiite members resigned.