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Wissam al-Hassan

Brig Gen Wissam al-Hassan (1965 - 19th Oct 2012) was former Head of intelligence branch of Lebanon's Internal Security Forces (ISF). Regarded as a leading Sunni figure in Lebanon despite having no formal political role , he was known for his involvement with the strongly anti-syrian 14 March opposition bloc, as well as with the former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and his family.His early career was spent being responsible for PM Hariri's security, and in 2001 he was promoted to Head of the PM's guard detachment.In 2005 Mr Hariri's assassination in a car bomb sparked reports of Mr Hassan's suspected involvement, as that day he would normally have been part of the PM's envoy, but instead took a day off to take a university exam. Despite it finding Mr Hassan's alibi to be dubious, in 2006 a UN-backed tribunal found 4 members of pro-syrian Shia Islamist movement, namely Hezbollah, to be guilty of PM Hariri's killing. He also helped lead an investigation into the assassination which implicated Damascus. Most recently Mr Hassan came under public scrutiny after organising the arrest of Michel Samaha, a pro-syrian politician and ex-information minister, for the alleged planning of a syrian- backed bombing campaign in Lebanon. In 2005 Syrian troops withdrew from Lebanon after 29 years, and Syria is still thought to maintain powerful ties there.

Mr. Hassan was killed in Oct. 2012 alongside his bodyguard and one other innocent bystander in the Ashrafiya district of Beirut by a car bomb.This has since ignited violent protests both in Beirut and Tripoli with calls for current PM Najib Mikati to stand down.Opposition figures blamed the attack on Syria and its Lebanese allies, amid fears that the current Syrian crisis could spread over the border.

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