WASHINGTON, Aug. 1 (UPI) — The release of the names of members of Hezbollah allegedly tied to the killing of Rafik Hariri is a key development for the country, a U.S. official said.
The U.N.-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon last week released the names of the four individuals wanted for the killing of Hariri, a former prime minister of Lebanon. They are: Salim Jamil Ayyash, Mustafa Amine Badreddine, Hussein Hassan Ainessi and Assad Hassan Sabra.
Hariri and 21 others were killed in a bomb attack Feb. 14, 2005.
Mark Toner, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department, said the indictments were an important development for Lebanon.
“This indictment is an important milestone and we call on the government of Lebanon to continue to meet its obligations under international law to support the special tribunal,” he said.
Hezbollah said its members are off-limits to the tribunal. The Shiite movement helped bring down the government of Saad Hariri, Rafik Hariri’s son, in January while he was visiting the United States.
Hezbollah said it was frustrated with Hariri’s support for the tribunal, which it accuses of being part of an Israeli ploy.
Toner noted, however, that Washington hasn’t seen the full indictment, which was handed in June to authorities in Beirut.