Former minister killed in Beirut car bomb

Forensic experts check the site of explosion near a crater in Beirut, Friday, Dec. 27, 2013. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

BEIRUT: Former Minister Mohammad Shatah, a senior aide to former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, was killed along with five other people in a car bomb blast in Downtown Beirut Friday, a security source said.

The March 14 coalition, which is headed by the Future Movement, pointed the finger of blame at the regime of Syria’s President Bashar Assad, which swiftly denied the allegations.

Shatah’s vehicle was making its way in the capital’s bustling central district at the time of the explosion, which also killed Mohammad Tareq Badr, the former finance minister’s bodyguard, the source said, adding that 70 people were also wounded in the blast that struck at around 9.45 a.m.

The 62-year-old, who was also a close aide to former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, was headed to Hariri’s Downtown residence where a meeting of the March 14 coalition was under way.

His killing comes days before the U.N.-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon begins the trial of four Hezbollah suspects over the 2005 assassination of Hariri’s father, former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, the founder of the Future Movement.

Read more at The Daily Star-Lebanon