Lebanon cabinet minister assassinated

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The Independent Online

The prominent anti-Syrian Christian politician Pierre Gemayel was assassinated in a suburb of Beirut today, his Phalange Party Voice of Lebanon radio station reported.

His fatal shooting will certainly heighten the political tension in Lebanon, where the leading Muslim Shiite party Hezbollah has threatened to topple the government if he does not get a bigger say in Cabinet decision making.

Gemayel was rushed to a nearby hospital seriously wounded, the Lebanese Broadcasting Corp. and Voice of Lebanon, the Phalange Party mouthpiece reported.

The party later announced that he was dead.

Gemayel, the minister of industry and son of former President Amin Gemayel, is a member of the Phalange party and supporter of the anti-Syrian parliamentary majority, which is locked in a power struggle with pro-Syrian factions led by Hezbollah.

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