A leading investigator in the assassination of a former Lebanese prime minister was wounded by a roadside bomb that killed four other people Tuesday. Lt. Col. Samir Shehade, deputy head of the intelligence department in the national police force, was hospitalized in stable condition in the southern port of Sidon.
Four of Shehade’s aides and bodyguards were killed when the remote-controlled bomb detonated near their two-car police convoy in the southern town of Rmaile. Five people in the convoy were wounded in addition to Shehade.
The motive for the attack was not known, but it raised the specter of more politically inspired attacks in Lebanon. Some critics have accused Syria of using such attacks to warn Lebanese leaders not to be too independent.
Syria has denied involvement in Prime Minister Rafik Hariri’s killing in Beirut in February 2005. But a U.N. investigation has implicated Syrian intelligence officials in that bombing, which sparked mass protests and intensified international pressure that led to the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon, ending a 29-year-military presence.